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GPs can't do spirometry? That's our workload issues sorted

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Yeah, you’ve got me bang to rights, Association for Respiratory Technology and Physiology (ARTP). We do our own spirometry, but I’ve always wondered what all those spirometric graphs and stats meant - and never really cared to be honest, because the patients all seem to end up on the same inhalers regardless.

All of which I also intend to refer to secondary care from now on

So, fair play, to raise standards, I’m going to have to hang up my spirometer and send all my pink puffers and blue bloaters to puff and bloat their way to the local respiratory clinic. Though, obvs, that’ll make the waiting list so long they may well gasp their last before they’re seen.

And while I’m in confessional mode, I should probably point out that I’m also bit crap at a whole heap of other primary care clinical interpretations. You know, ambulatory BP monitoring, 24 hours ECGs, blood tests, examination findings, and answers patients give me to questions like, ‘What can I do for you today?’ All of which I also intend to refer to secondary care from now on, so that’s our workload issues sorted.

There is another way of looking at this, though. And that’s to say, hold on, ARTP, UK Primary Care Respiratory Society and ‘other expert groups’. I do believe I have to go through an annual appraisal and five yearly revalidation to certify that I am a competent GP, and that competence as a generalist encompasses stuff like interpreting spirometry, which is actually just one of a myriad tasks I can do, ta.

And if you do decide to decree that spirometry and its interpretation is outside of the realm of normal general practice then, fine, that’ll be one lucrative enhanced service fee please, for which I’d be delighted to jump whatever stupid hoops you care to dream up.

Anyway, must stop now. You’re getting me all het up, and I can’t tell if I’m hyperventilating or if my asthma’s playing up. There must be a test for that, but buggered if I know what it is.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield

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Readers' comments (9)

  • In any other role this would be termed 'conflict of interest' from these bodies. total guff.

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  • Dr Copperfield, I am afraid once the ARTP guidelines will get implemented, the spirometry certified staff will receive full training in the drafting of patient-centered care plans that will suggest so many actions for the GP to undertake that you will gladly jump through all the hoops for free just to protect your sanity from having to digest their "findings".2

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  • Spirometery should only be performed by clinicians assessed and certified.

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  • Hilarious!

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  • |Anonymous | Private GP|27 Sep 2016 1:33pm

    "Spirometery should only be performed by clinicians assessed and certified."

    And FUNDED. Please do not forget FUNDED :)

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  • when I send some one for spiroemtry in Canada I get a report and I read that. Job done

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  • I certainly don't do it myself or emply anyone to do it they go to a respiratory clinic of which there are many.

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  • Andrew Irvine

    Just wait until THEY attach a financial penalty for not "qualifying" to do spirometry, and NHS England establishes a Spirometry Inspectorate with a suite of offices in Whitehall and powers to raid Surgeries and interrogate GPs with beheading as a standard...sorry, that's Game of Thrones!

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  • Who or what is ATRP and why do they have any say whatever in what we do? Tell them to inhale it.

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From: Copperfield

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex with more than a few chips on his shoulder