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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs can't keep saying 'yes' to so-called obligations

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When we GPs are told what to do, we have a long and proud tradition of saying, ‘Get stuffed’. Partly because we’re professionals, and we’re self-employed, but also because it’s great fun to be bloody minded.

It’s a sound policy, though. In my experience, most impositions are inappropriate, ill conceived and irksome. If something really is worth doing, I’d almost certainly be doing it already. Besides, nonsense needs to be nipped in the bud before it can expand or metastasise.

After all, look what’s happened to QOF. What started off as, arguably, an interesting, credible and manageable exercise in rewarding quality has evolved into a non-evidence based forum for the madcap ideas of politicians and tub thumpers which has become so gargantuan, indiscriminate and voracious that it’s about to eat general practice as we know it. If only, earlier on, we’d had the guts to say, ‘Enough’.

Which is why alarm bells should be ringing over the news that certain PCTs are suggesting that Level 3 child protection training (whatever that is*) is mandatory. Of course, we’re self-employed, so they can’t ‘make’ us – what will they do, stop us seeing children? – though they can generate one heck of a hassle-filled email trail along the way.

Rather more worrying, though, is the implication that such training might be a revalidation requirement. Huh? I thought the whole idea of reappraisal/revalidation was that, with my appraiser, I should identify and sort out my own educational needs. That’s the message the fluffy educationalists have been sending out repeatedly to appease appraisal/revalidation sceptics – so frequently and convincingly that these days I can even say it myself without gagging.

Now I feel the chill of someone else’s agenda being imposed. And what might next week’s mandatory course be? Spotting elder abuse? How to take blood pressure correctly? Ear syringing? Then what’s to stop the whole of general practice being deconstructed, with revalidation disintegrating into an exercise in rubber stamping my certificate collection?

I was a passive conscientious objector to revalidation. A development like this makes me a raging refusenik. It’s bad enough as it is, but attempts by various ‘stakeholders’ to hijack it will make it unbearable. So you know what you have to say to those trying to muscle in on your PDP with imposed level 3 training or anything else: something rather stronger than ‘Get stuffed’.

*Not sure, exactly, but I can guess that it’s a) time consuming and b) for most experienced GPs, unnecessary.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can email him at tonycopperfield@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield.            

Readers' comments (9)

  • I suspect it won't be long before our "educational needs" will be dictated by patient pressure groups backed by politicians.

    "For your next appraisal, Dr Copperfield, your patient questionnaire has decided you will have to complete level 3 training in Mistletoe injection, Daily Mail analysis and How To Do What We Tell You To Do course"

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  • The truth is that we've all put up wit this ever growing nonsense for way too long.
    I've got little hope that the next generation of GPs is going to be any better than us at saying NO - that's B......
    It'll ultimately be down to our patients and PPGs to fight for General Practice as our voice won't carry very far.
    In the end the public will get the health care they have wanted and therefore deserved.
    As a GP I can only hope they understand our role better than politicians do.

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  • I've just done level 3 training. A list of questions given to answer in groups began to look familiar- same as in the level 2 I did 3 years ago. Still didn't know the answers, didn't care, don't need to know. A complete waste of time, patronising and largely irrelevant.

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  • As GPs should clearly know everything about everything I'm going to fill the remaining 10 years until retirement on courses to improve my knowledge. Just need to work out who is going to see the patients in the meantime.....

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  • just done my level 3 training - a Complete Waste of Time if ever there was one - learnt nothing but had nice chat with some friends and the biccies were good and the CCG provided OOH cover for the afternoon. Came away with certificate and that is about it ...

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  • I have "mandatory" level 3 training scheduled for tomorrow. The organisers have helpfully sent me some per-training reading and a sheet where I tick the boxes for each competency learned through the training. The template they sent already has the boxes ticked. Handy.

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  • I haven't had time to do this yet, we are busy sorting out the practice policy for assistance dogs for the cqc.

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  • I am an experienced and properly trained professional. I know where my weaknesses and strengths are. I address the weaknesses and areas where I need to improve and have done so for many years and I don't need "administrators" to force me to educate myself in areas which I have already addressed or do not need to.

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  • unbelievable

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From: Copperfield

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