A Leeds GP has given an emotional and damning indictment on morale among his NHS colleagues in frontline healthcare.
George Winder, chair of the Leeds GP confederation, said he had “never, ever worked so hard” and that media criticism of doctors was “frankly depressing”.
Dr Winder, who was speaking at Leeds City Council’s adults and health scrutiny committee, had earlier admitted local access to GPs remained “fairly awful” for patients.
Local doctor’s surgeries are offering more appointments than ever before, but are still being overwhelmed by the post-pandemic boom in calls for treatment.
Dr Winder, who practices at Oakwood Lane Medical Practice in Gipton, told the committee: “I’ve never not had a job. I’ve worked in obstetrics. I’ve worked in general surgery. I’ve worked in the busiest A&E department in the country in Leicester. I’ve worked in numerous different areas.
“I promise you I’ve never, ever worked as hard as I do now, in my day job.”
“When I’m at work on a Thursday on call from well before 9am to well after 7pm, to missing the kids’ bedtime and all those things, it is painfully hard work.”
Dr Winder said there was often a “mismatch” between what doctors can provide and what patients want, adding, “That creates a really unhappy, unsatisfactory day.
“And then you get home and you hear you’re really bad at your job and you’re not doing enough for people and that’s, quite frankly, depressing.”
Dr Winder said there was a “recruitment crisis” across general practice at the moment, with receptionists among the roles where turnover is highest.
That’s been linked to the amount of abuse being dished out by angry patients. A chair was thrown through a window at a surgery in Harehills in February this year.
Health chiefs in Leeds are trying to expand the roles of physios and pharmacists to take the heat off GPs in the long-term.
But the committee was told that doctors are having to take time to train physios and pharmacists, meaning there is less capacity in the system in the meantime.
Dr Winder had earlier said: “Currently the situation for patients and staff in Leeds is fairly awful, and I use that term deliberately.
“That’s how our staff would describe it and that’s how some of my family members would describe it.”