10 things I hate/love about you (general practice)

Bollocksology Blog

GPs final column discusses 'bollocksology' and cherishing thank-you cards.


A BMJ columnist has wrapped up her final column for the journal with musings on life as a GP, including advice to doctors to call out ‘bollocksology’, that appalling workloads won't be cured by resilience and why you should cherish all your thank-you cards.

In her last ‘No holds barred’ column, Glasgow GP and blogger Dr Margaret McCartney has summarised four-and-a-half years into one column, providing 36 points on life and medicine, which she describes as a tough, unglamorous but "absolutely brilliant" job.

Here is a selection of 10 of her thoughts:

01. If it’s not evidence based, it might as well be homeopathy.

02. Many people seek to make money from those who don’t understand science. Doctors should call out bollocksology when they see it.

03. Humans make mistakes. Honesty breeds forgiveness and better practice.

04. Keep your thank-you cards. They will sustain you through your darkest days.

05. We need to know the absolute risk. What’s the all-cause mortality? There’s no use not dying from a disease if the treatment kills you.

06. People should be offered interventions and be given help to make decisions. Doctors should be judged on how helpful they are, not the decisions they make.

07. Less medicine may be better treatment. It can often feel risky to deprescribe even though it shouldn’t.

08. Appalling workloads that are neither appealing nor safe will not be cured with more “resilience”.

09. Medicine is a tough, unglamorous, difficult job, which with understaffing and austerity, often feels impossible to do well.

10. Medicine is an absolutely brilliant job and having long-term relationships with patients and families is one of the most joyous and fulfilling aspects of work.


Read more about Margaret McCartney's "A summary of four and a half years of columns in one column".