ABSTRACT

So said Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister 1957-1963, when asked what his biggest problem was.

Doctors’ professional problems (or at least, the problems that have us reaching for our professional hats) tend to be, as events go, rather small beer. A new GP contract, the latest recruitment and retention statistics, today’s drug scare, a fresh clutch of Department of Health targets, the supplanting of the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice by the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board – none of them exactly stops the spinning world on its axis. By contrast, when some large-scale disaster or triumph occurs – famine, royal marriage or Rugby World Cup final – it is usually in our capacity as private individuals that we react.