Forget being an astronaut - you should become a GP

I've got some advice ready for my children when they tell me what they'd like to do when they grow up.

Thursday, 3rd November 2016, 6:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:39 pm
Rick wants his children to become doctors

Forget being an astronaut, a racing driver, a fashion designer or a pop star.

I shall tell them to become a GP, as that way they will never be short of work (or money).

We have two poorly children at the moment and both are on antibiotics to fight nasty infections.

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But getting them seen in the first place has been a nightmare.

Firstly, our son was seen after a two-and-a-half-hour wait at our surgery in Gosport.

He was put on ‘meds’ which needed to be administered an hour before or two hours after food, four times a day.

Then our 11-month-old daughter started to come down with similar symptoms. A cold and a nasty cough, whilst rubbing her ears.

Over the weekend her condition deteriorated and by Sunday she was running a temperature of more than 39 degrees.

We called 111. We were told she needed to see a doctor and that they would call back.

We heard nothing for hours, so we called again.

By 9pm, we were told there were no doctors available to see her. Not just in Gosport, but Portsmouth, Southampton, Winchester…in fact the whole of Hampshire had no availability.

By 3am her temperature hit more than 40 degrees and we had no choice but to call 999.

They arrived soon after and looked her over.

But if we had seen a doctor beforehand, we may not have needed to call 999 and use up this vital service.

The next morning, as we faced another two-hour wait to see a GP, or a practice nurse as it turned out, we realised we are desperately short of doctors.

Our surgery does its best, but when you have more staff working on reception than you do GPs, what can you do?

We should have at least six. There are two at ours.

So, get your kids into medicine and they will never be out of work (and be rather well-paid).


Will we ever stop using mobile phones in our cars?

After that awful footage of a fatal crash involving a lorry driver flicking through his music library, the need to make phone usage as abhorrent as drink-driving is even more pressing.

As cars get more advanced, we are being introduced to touchscreen technology, wi-fi hotspots and further connectivity between our car and phone.

But is searching for songs more dangerous than searching radio stations?

I get angry when I see selfish drivers on the phone at the wheel, but there are not enough police to enforce a crackdown.

Maybe future technology will render phones useless in cars, but until then we must stop using them on the move.


I may have upset some teachers on my radio show last week when I pointed out that, at some schools, the first day back after half-term was an inset day.

I asked why this training day couldn’t take place during the holidays.

After all, teachers do get a lot of holiday – up to 13 weeks a year.

But then, when you consider classroom hours make up a fraction of the working week, with most putting in more than 50 hours on average, working into the evening and at weekends, you can’t really begrudge them a break.

Yes, inset days are an inconvenience for many of us parents.

But, having researched teaching hours and hearing how hard many work, I now understand why they are important.