Today has been a rather pleasant day. Both my surgeries were relatively light, and most people came with simple problems that I could deal with easily. I explored their beliefs, addressed their concerns, and got them out of the door within twelve minutes. So I ran almost exactly to time. Usually what happens is that I see large numbers of patients with complex problems requiring review and assessment, get hopelessly bogged down, and run late.
One charming lady brought me a box of Ferrero Rocher, as she does every year when she comes for review. To be honest they are not my favourite chocolates, but they are always given with such kind-hearted gratitude that it is a delight to receive them.
And a young man whom I saw a little after 6pm spontaneously said that he had no trouble getting appointments to suit him, and thought that the Government was wrong to insist on GPs consulting late into the evening. An even more welcome gift.
I am trying not to think too much about the Government at the moment, as it is bad for my blood pressure. Because the extra money offered by Alan Johnson will not cover the rise in expenses next year (particularly as we will have to pay staff to work extra unsocial hours), his proposal amounts to a pay cut for the third year running - provided that we consult for several extra hours each week in the evenings or at weekends. And if we don't accept this generous offer the Government will use special powers, intended for use at times of national emergency, to impose an enormous pay cut - which I estimate would be at least 13% in my case. You can tell how much the Government appreciate us, and cherish and value us as key workers in the National Health Service.