My partner and i had an extremely interesting trip up to Manchester this past friday to be at Dr S's IOP. We set off at 6pm on thursday from Glos and arrived around 10pm at a carpark 0.2 miles from St James Building (according to the AA car park app!) At £8.50 for 24 hrs, a bargain in our opinion. (Camping sites can charge up to £30 a night!) A very friendly attendant seemed a little surprised we should be in the middle of the city with our huge hymer! He assured us it was fine to stay there and would be checking the car park every 2 hours. After a cuppa tea we ventured out to locate St James building and to walk off the lemon cake we had just consumed. We never did find St James building as we had confused Oxford Street with Oxford Road, well google maps had and that is my excuse and i am sticking to it!
After a restful nights sleep (actually I had my usual insomnia but my partner slept well, bless him) we awoke to the morning drone of the city. After more lemon cake, ( i had forgot to pack breakfast cereal!) we asked another friendly local where we might find St James Building and he pointed us in the right direction just a few yards away!!!
As I am claustrophobic in lifts a bemused attendant directed us towards the plastic/marble stairway, along a corridor and then up many flights of stairs which eventually led us to the 7th floor. The views over the city made us feel like holiday makers and gave us welcome respite to take photos while fighting exhaustion climbing the heights.
We eventually emerged on the 7th floor with less clothing on than when we set off. On the 7th floor at reception we were instructed to fill out a label and told to attach it to ourselves, (which i succeeded in losing sometime between morning coffee break and lunch!) we were then ushered into a waiting room. I am sure waiting rooms are designed to make you not want to wait. Especially as the GMC has told me over the phone this hearing was not open to the public! (another complaint going in to them for telling me porkies!)
After oxygen depletion from climbing mount St James, my memory of exact events is unclear as to why we were then all sent back down to Floor 4 to yet another waiting room equally uninviting. However wait is what we did in bucketfuls that day. Waiting is a skill and I think it should be taught at school "the art of waiting" and how to endure it.. A degree was also needed on how to work the drinks machine but once sussed enabled the user to feel useful in instructing other poor souls in how it dispensed drinks.
Sometime later we were ushered into another room where chairs were in short supply, staff begged borrowed and stole more until around 20 of us sat quashed in, to listen to a "learn-ed person" who had a sore throat. To be honest I cannot regurgitate what he said, partly due to my dislexiic disposition but i always try to remember key points and differentiate important stuff from the boring stuff. However I felt very uneasy about the man sitting in the biggest chair at the end of the table grinning like a cheshire cat! I found it disconcerting to say the least, I know I am not the brightest button in the box but all I could think was, why is this man grinning so much? Does he know something we don't?
So as the morning progressed I came to an ongoing conclusion, what the hell is going on? As far as I could ascertain Dr S has done nothing wrong, never has done and no evidence he had done anything wrong, well none that I heard.
Even after the "learn-ed" person with the sore throat outlined the GMC guidelines "Unless a Dr had caused serious problems for patients etc etc they could not impose conditions on a Dr." .........Well, i thought, Dr S has not caused any problems for any one so obviously they will lift these in my opinion unreasonable conditions, and i could not understand why had they imposed conditions on him in the first place especially with the lack of any concrete evidence! None of it made sense!
In my youth I have experienced being on the wrong end of the law with driving offences on my first motorbike. In the 70s I did not like wearing a helmet as i was a rebel but I was picked on and had 52 driving offences in one court case! I did no harm to others but because I did not tow the line the book was thrown at me so to speak. I was also caught with a little wacky baccy in my pocket! (enough for one spliff!) Off to court again! Another waste of tax payers money. I also had a probation officer make sexual advances towards me and I was even sent to Holloway prison for TDA Taking and Driving Away, accept it was my motorbike I had taken and driven away! The police had impounded it and I took it back! another waste of tax payers money! I was picked on cos I was a rebel and a Doctors daughter and the powers to be were bored in my local sea side town and persecuted me, bullied me and wanted to teach me a lesson! Their worst form of abuse to me was arrest me and send me for a stomach pump saying i had overdosed! Seriously I kid you not ..11 stomach pumps later I conceded!
You will be glad to hear my wonderful solicitor sued the police and we won and i was awarded a monetary amount but it was the fact I proved their terrible abuse.
I guess what I am trying to say is the system can be very wrong and I have in my youth been at the receiving end of wrongness and what I saw on Friday was Dr S being on the receiving end of wrongness directed towards him.
So i think dear people you can perhaps see from my past experiences what I thought of this farce, sorry, hearing! and witnessing a stitch up in my opinion!
The only winners on friday were the learned person and the paid people at Dr S's hearing. I can honestly say from the cheshire cats grin" the powers to be" were not going to lift the conditions on Dr S. And i believe they had no intentions to, which beggars the question why oh why and what was that farce about? Dr S's council was very good but the "powers to be" obviously did not listen! which i found insulting cos they got paid alot to listen.
Anyway after Dr S's council had delivered his speech the cheshire cat wanted 2 hours for lunch sorry, 2 hours to make a decision!!!!! I think I am in the wrong job, oh wait, i haven't got a job! I lost it due to hypothyroidism!!
So after 2 hours of lunching the cheshire cat obviously was still hungry and needed another 2 hours!
At 4pm after we all passed our degree in "The art of Waiting" and mastered the drinks machine. We listened to their decision. Surprise surprise They were not going to lift any of his conditions imposed on Dr S which included supervision!
Conclusion: What a load of Bo...,ks!!! Alot of people made a great deal of money doing very little apart from Dr S's advisors and council. And in my opinion the GMC are determined to make Dr S's working conditions as hard as possible and it was nothing less than bully boy tactics from the GMC. Disgusting. Shame on them.
However it was absolutely fabulous to meet so many interesting people who had been to hell and back and who had then met Dr S who was their saviour because he was and is how Drs should be, he listens to patients and acts accordingly. Bless you Dr S you are truely wonderful. Like my GP father (RIP) who also listened to his patients always.
It was a super day meeting all you lovely people and hopefully Dr S knows how much we all care about him and without his caring and compassion so many would still be so ill.
So please people if you can, please come and support Dr S again in May 2013 when the GMC go through this farce yet again! Come and witness this surreal experience and meet some wonderful people in the process.