There was a mad old coot sitting in the middle of the road yesterday explaining how she was doing it to stop the world running out of oxygen. I kid you not. It turned out that this woman aged 61 was a retired GP. She had quit a while back to concentrate on saving the planet and the point is that after years troughing it and with a bumper, taxpayer funded pension, she could afford to quit at an age when nearly all of us still face years at the coalface.
Equally my sister is like the vast, and increasing, numbers of GPs: part-time. It is her call, her right but it is one that folks in this profession can afford as few others can because they are paid so much. Once your brats are through public school and the mortgage paid off then you do not need so much to live on and if the average GP is on £100,700, you and I can probably imagine how it would be possible to struggle by on, say £50,350 for doing just two and a half days, 20 hours a week. Better still, these days you can do much of that from home doing many of your surgeries on an online only basis.
The Government, natch, thinks the way to get more GPs out there is to sink more cash, that is taxpayers cash, into the NHS black hole. But it is hard to bribe someone with cash when they already have so much of the stuff that they can afford to work part time and then take early retirement.
The only way to get the Shipmans back at their desks is to slash their wages and give them far less generous pensions. That might force them to do a full working week like the rest of us in order to fit in that extra skiing holiday next year and help their ghastly offspring to send their ghastly offspring to expensive schools.
The chances of that happening? Zero. No elected MP dares challenge the sacred cow that is the NHS and the greedy bastards who work there. And so, the Shipmans will be given even more cash and the problem will get even worse.