A friend you can count on

If you need help at this stressful time, then the Independent Doctors Federation (IDF) is there as a set of friends to support you, says its private GP president Dr Neil Haughton.
As consultants and GPs worked valiantly to cope with the mounting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on their professional and personal lives, president Dr Neil Haughton gave this message to members 

Dear IDF member,

Dr Neil Haughton

How things change in seven days. A week ago we were agonising over whether to cancel the study weekend and now that seems utterly frivolous. We have all seen rapid changes in our practice, patients, workload, staffing and business security. 

I have been asked a few times this week to comment publicly on how the private sector is responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, but declined, as it was not the right time. And we should certainly not be profiteering from the crisis. 

The IDF has always strived to promote the decent professionalism of independent practice and will continue to do so. 

Many of our colleagues will be required to return to NHS roles or volunteer to do so, which is exactly what is required, and private hospitals and staff will now provide front-line services in the crisis. 

Powerful force

We only ever seek to complement the NHS and times like this just reinforce my admiration and support for the institution that trained us all. We are lucky indeed to have such a powerful force in the UK. 

The IDF has sought to support its members during this time and is adjusting its service provision; our office is closed, education will go online, appraisal is on hold, but we are still a designated body and our regulatory work will continue. 

We have also consistently lobbied our colleagues at Public Health England, the Care Quality Commission, NHS England, the RCGP and others to have access to the right information and equipment – although the latter still evades us. We are no longer able to meet in the same way, see and support old and new faces, which is such a fundamental part of the IDF and will return. 

Support each other

In the meantime, please use the IDF as a set of friends who will have difficulties in the months to come, so we should and must support each other. 

There may be scope to share equipment, staff, premises or knowledge to help keep our services relevant and ready to resume when the crisis eventually resolves and Covid-19 is just another box in the vaccine fridge. 

Please use us to connect with each other and provide assistance at this time, even for just a friendly chat. 

Please also remember our psychiatric support network which may be of benefit to members at this stressful time; you can find the details when you log in to the IDF website. 

For the moment, the NHS is facing its biggest challenge and they have our unreserved support. 

We will help in whatever way we can or is required of us.  

Stay safe and well and I hope to see you all soon.

Thank you, 

Neil Haughton