Before I even write this, I am aware that I might receive some criticism, but I am okay with that because it is really important to me that I share some insights into what’s happening in GP land especially as the amount of hate that is being directed towards general practice recently, largely in the media and online, needs to be challenged.

I am hopeful that if you have needed to see a GP that you have had a positive experience.

Certainly, in my practice, we endeavour to meet our patient demands as best we can everyday but the frustrations being felt across the board are mutual.

There remains this notion that GP practices have been and continue to be closed.

This was sparked by misleading news that was spread at the beginning of the pandemic when the way care had to be delivered was modified for public safety.

Overnight we moved from busy waiting rooms and face to face appointments to telephone consultations to vet patients into appointments according to need.

This was not and is still not an easy way to do medicine which does need to be said.

As doctors, we are trained to treat patients in a face to face capacity but when the pandemic struck, we found ourselves – unprotected with adequate PPE – learning how to use tech to connect with patients.

Did we continue to look after our patients? Yes. Did patients continue to receive their prescriptions, sick notes, medical reports? Yes. Did patients continue to have their chronic health problems managed? Yes. I’m not sure if many know this, but most healthcare professionals did not take or receive their annual leave during the thick of the pandemic.

Everyone rolled up their sleeves and they did what was asked of them including when the time for vaccinating came. Over 70% of vaccines in the UK were delivered or supervised by GPs alongside acute medical care.

Some routine screening was paused at the start of the pandemic which is now all back up and running again.

However many hospital procedures and planned surgeries have been delayed. The focus became essential care and looking after Covid patients but the fallout of all of that has also landed on GPs.

It does upset me to see my patients suffer in pain as they return back to me, their GP, after already waiting for a year only to be told it might be another year before they get their surgery for their knee or hip, for example.

Where I had already exhausted all treatment avenues with them, I am sat scratching my head as to how to support these people who need their specialist treatments.

However, we try and we will never stop trying our best in the face of what feels like a tsunami of workload.

Why am I sharing this? Well, it is because I find it really hard reading or hearing the abuse that is being directed towards GPs and their teams.

The wrong people are being blamed for a problem that is system wide.

We work for the NHS and can only do what we can with what resources and support we have yet it feels like there isn’t a voice to defend us.

I am also a patient. I have recently had to access my own GP and therefore have been in a privileged, albeit not ideal, position to have dual perspectives. Yes, I waited in a phone queue for 10 minutes but after a few questions from the receptionist, I was put in for a same day call back from my GP.

I spoke to my doctor within the hour and got a face to face appointment the same day based on my history. Three hours later, I was seen, treated and on my way home. This is how we manage our patients and as a patient myself, I received the same care. Do not get me wrong, I understand there are frustrations and there are problems with the system but people need to be mindful of who it all directed at.

NHS staff are all employees working for a system that is not working. If you are stuck in long queues, can’t get through, can’t get appointments – this is not a reflection of work shy GPs, it a sign of ridiculous demands and incredible workload issues that ordinary humans are trying to get through with the finite time they have.

I would welcome constructive discussion and feedback.

We can only learn from one another in a manner that is kind and helps move forward conversations that create change.

The Scottish Government has to review the state of affairs in primary care as a matter of priority not just for public who have unmet patient needs, but also for the healthcare workers who are drowning under the pressure and burning out.