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GPs hit back at ‘incendiary’ attack on general practice by surgeon in the Daily Mail

GP leaders have hit back at claims put forward by an oncological surgeon in the Daily Mail that general practice was unfit for purpose.

In yesterday’s Daily Mail, Professor J. Meirion Thomas – who has previously singled out female doctors as the cause of the NHS’s workforce woes – said general practice was ‘hopelessly outmoded’ and called for GPs to be taken over by hospitals, with ‘specialist nurses’ handling the majority of care.

He seized on ‘risk ratings’ – which are used by the CQC for prioritising inspections and were released to the public on Monday – as evidence that one in six practices ‘could be putting patients at risk through their inadequacies’, despite the CQC stating the rankings do not amount to a ‘judgement’ of practices.

Writing in Pulse today, Dr Saira Ghafur and Dr Roisin Finn – clinical fellows to NHS England’s national medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh – and Dr Nikita Kanani, vice-chair of Bexley CCG, counter Professor Thomas’s claims.

Professor Thomas states: ‘As the inadequacies of general practice become ever-more apparent, the only answer from the politicians seems to be to pour more money into the system and create yet more GP posts.’

But the response from the GPs explains that, far from this being the case, between 2008/09 and 2011/12 ‘the total number of consultations in general practice is estimated to have risen from 300.4m to 340m’,  while their proportion of the NHS budget has ‘dropped from 10.95% in 2005/06 to 8.5% in 2011/12’.

Similarly, they highlight that Professor Thomas’s claims that GPs ‘simply do not keep up with the latest developments in healthcare’ completely ignores the requirements to demonstrate this in appraisal and revalidation.

Far from general practice being unwilling to reform, it is actually leading it, they say: ‘Changes are being made both at ground level and policy level to address these issues. However, unreasonably criticising his colleagues who provide the majority of care delivery is incendiary and unnecessary.

‘As a surgeon who works in tertiary care and also in the private sector, perhaps Professor Thomas would like to visit a busy general practice to understand the increasingly complex nature of a GP’s workload and the challenges involved in delivering high-quality care on an increasingly constrained budget.’

Read the full article here

Readers' comments (114)

  • Resident DailyMail "embarrassing stereotype" Surgeon gives "off the wall" opinions...its a joke.

    Along with his 'get out of my way I'm a surgeon God damn it!' approach. He needs to be laughed it...this isn't somone who's opinions count for squat..apart from in his own little operating theatre which I'm sure he's KING!


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  • Just copying GMC Guidance.
    Work collaboratively with colleagues to maintain or improve patient care
    35. You must work collaboratively with colleagues, respecting their skills and contributions.1
    36. You must treat colleagues fairly and with respect.
    37. You must be aware of how your behaviour may influence others within and outside the team.
    Heres the Link

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  • A prof who works privately in tertiary care casting judgment on all GPs !!! one word PATHETIC

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  • I called his NHS secretary today, he is not in the office. The article is a disgrace. A fellow professional should not be allowed to write such inflammatory views.

    I wanted to give him the chance to see if taken out of context etc.

    Please Pulse do something about this man.

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  • Anonymous 138
    Have you reported to GMC?
    Whilst I agree that a lot can be delivered by specialist nurses have you found one that will work way over contracted hours and whose defence body would cover them for 60 hours a week 50'patients a day having open ended responsibility! Professor Thomas needs a wake up call to what would happen if hospitals ran primary care. I'd love to see him do what I do in a day

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  • If this is serious it's quite alarming. Why has this man been given a platform to spout forth on a something evidently so far outside his experience? He doesn't even appear to have understood the "risk" ratings but to have merely picked up the tabloid take on them.

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  • So has anyone reported him to the GMC yet? Or getting some sort of petition together? I'd quite happily do both. He has to learn a lesson here. No point getting his take on it. Let the GMC investigate as they have to

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  • The GMC will sort this out
    This man is living in cloud cuckoo land
    Not available today?? Likely off funding his next Bentley with private work

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  • Firstly blaming female doctors and then GPs.
    Only needs to blame immigrants now to complete the Daily Mail 'full house'.

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  • As above - outrageously ignorant comments
    Fits in nicely with the government's intent of diminishing primary care and increasing the role of private providers
    Would give certain individuals more private work no doubt

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