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Submit your questions for RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker

We are hosting an online Q&A with the RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker and would like you to submit your questions.

Last year, the RCGP was at the centre of some of the most important stories in general practice - most notably the judicial review into the pass rate discrepancies of the college’s CSA exam. Dr Baker was also named the country’s most influential GP in Pulse’s annual Power 50 list.

With the general election looming, and no doubt another important year for general practice - Pulse invites you to submit any burning questions you may have for the RCGP chair.

The hour-long Q&A, which will take place on Monday 2 February at 1pm, will be splashed on Pulse’s homepage.

You can leave questions for Dr Baker in the comments below or tweet them to @Pulsetoday using the hashtag #AskBaker. Alternatively, you can email them to feedback@pulsetoday.co.uk and you will also be able to ask your questions on the day.

**We have a lot of questions to get through, so please be concise, respectful and leave your name - if possible - as this makes your query more likely to be asked**

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Readers' comments (46)

  • Why are you so keen to be conciliatory and accommodating and soft bellied, to the politicians who are destroying everything in their path regards your colleagues careers ? Please don't quote well rehearsed guff about having to work with them. You will be gone in a matter of months why not launch a full scale full frontal assault on the total destruction these politicians are causing, you would leave with total respect of your colleagues instead of disappointed mediocre beige memories of your time in office.

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  • What have you failed so badly at reflecting the anger in the profession ? You should care more about the support and opinions of fellow GPs, who are grossly saddened by your repeated capitulation to your political masters . You have not represented us, nor our opinions, like above I suggest you throw caution to the wind and elbow your way onto airwaves pre-election to vent real spleen about governments normalisation of unilaterally altering out contract to whatever's politically popular. You know the politicians don't care about you and they don't care about patients. Why the hell don't you say it. ?

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  • Are you aware that many GPs think you are the 'Gordon Brown' of recent RCGP presidents, and an embarrassment due to your dreadful performances when dealing with the media. Any GPs I know have been actually screaming at the TV disagreeing with your approach of never saying NO to anything the DOH / politicians suggest . It really is as simple as learning to say NO . Where is your passion or vision. Remaining time should be used to try and scrape together some credibility in your colleagues eyes by speaking straight to the public about the imminent total destruction of everything they have come to value about the NHS.

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  • Tom Gillham

    Would you want to work as a salaried GP in an ICO?

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  • Is it moral to mislead young doctors that ' the future is bright in General Practice ' and attempt to persuade them to become cannon fodder, when you and all of us know that is utter nonsense.

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  • Are you going to publicly apologise to grassroots GPs for entirely failing to fight our corner ?

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  • Many questions but honed down to a few
    1. Why is the RCGP recruitment video so boring? How is picking up scripts from reception going to entice young people? Why didn't you show GPs working on cruise ships, the antarctic, being involved with education, doing endoscopies etc? These are all the things that make the career so great as it is versatile
    2. Why do trainees (and trainers) have to go through so many hoops to get qualified? Why do we have to indulge in so much navel gazing when what they really need is the ability to multi-task, manage uncertainty, take risks and lead a team. Training doesn't equip them for a lot of stuff ( I speak as a Trainer and Educator)
    3. If the college is about standing up for quality and clinical governance, is there not an issue with the mushrooming of clinical contacts that can occur in one day's surgery? Is this not a serious threat to our standards of care?

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  • Whose side are you on? It doesn't feel like mine

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  • I feel many in the profession have been extremely disappointed by your lack of backbone and appearing to capitulate totally with the politicians when there is genuine anger about the way we are treated
    More and more work diverted our way with no funding
    12 hour working days the norm
    Reams of bureaucracy and tick box exercises
    GPs retiring early or emigrating
    That ridiculous recruitment video which gave absolutely no true facts about reality of GP now
    In your time left grow a pair of round ones and tell the numptys in DoH the truth about the grim reality of being a GP in UK in 2015 and stop the apologetic sound bites- we deserve far more robust representation as sorry to say this and not personal but you have been so mediocre that not sure what you actually achieved

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  • Took Early Retirement

    Are you aware that you are appearing to be an apologist for and, indeed, a mouthpiece for, the DoH?

    Do you believe there is a crisis in GP retention and recruitment?

    Do you feel the current new "10 point plan" will produce an additional 5000 WTE GPs?

    Do you get the feeling that anyone at the DOH gives a tinker's cuss, or do they want to just get to May in the hope there will then be a new policy?


    John Glasspool FRCGP- who retired 2.5 years years early from partnership (and left being a trainer before that) because I could no longer stand what GP had become.

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  • (1) Do you think that GPs are over-regulated?

    (2) Do you think that GP professionalism has been eroded?

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  • GPs are crumbling under the pressure and transfer of work from secondary care combined with the recently inflicted pressures from DOH and NHSE and CQC in the face of continually diminishing funding and income.

    Claiming this to be the best job in the world means that you are either being dishonest or hopelessly out of touch. Which is it?

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  • Please can you outline the evidence for your statements that 1) General Practice is The Best Job in the World and 2) The Future is Bright in General Practice, as they seem to be entirely at odds with the feelings of grassroots GPs at the coalface?

    Given more than a decade of constant denigration, deliberate disinvestment and mindless overburdening of General Practice by government and regulatory bodies with the complicity of our professional bodies, can you let me know how a largely empty, completely underfunded 10 point plan is going to magically improve recruitment and retention?

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  • Can you point to any robust evidence that Appraisal and Revalidation has had any positive outcome to set against the time, money and demoralisation it has cost?
    Does the College believe in Evidence based practice?

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  • Dear Doctor Baker, as an experienced GP who didn't sit the MRCGP back in the day. I was wondering if the college have any plans to re introduce membership by examination for experienced doctors. I ask this as both Australia and Canada will not accept the MRCGP by portfolio method.
    I would love the opportunity to work without your appraisal, revalidation, CQC nonsense and of course a yearly pay cut

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  • Why would any rational GP continue to pay membership fees to the College?

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  • Most of these disrespectful questions are unfair. The RCGP is not a political organisation per se. It started to move in that direction under Claire Gerada who adopted a much higher profile than this post had hitherto expressed. Most of these moans should be laid at the door of the BMA.

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  • "Most of these moans should be laid at the door of the BMA."

    Nonsense. The RCGP has been complicit with nonsense such as Revalidation / Appraisal / CQC etc and continues to talk rubbish ("best job in the world").

    If they can't be effective they should at least be honest.

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  • Why when you have been asked about GP pay do you say apologetic things such as 'G's are well paid'?

    Why do you not correct the difference between partnership 'profit' and salary and what most GP's are actually taking home?

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  • "Revalidation / Appraisal / CQC " are about improving standards and maintaining professional development. Both of which are good ideas. It is not the college's fault that the CQC has been so inept.If you have other criticism of revalidation then I suggest you approach the GMC. The main problems facing GPs at the moment stem from an incompetent and hostile government coupled with a financial .squeeze. To address this you should rely on your trade union to fight your corner and that is the BMA.

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  • During 2005 - 2013, a total of 28 of the doctors under investigation by the GMC killed themselves.

    Do you believe the GMC is fit fior purpose?

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  • This comment has been moderated.

  • Anonymous | GP Partner | 28 January 2015 11:06am

    You are quite naive.

    the RCGP has been complicit and a cheerleader for the absolute waste of time and money which is the revalidation process - what evidence that is has been a cost effective use of limited resources to ensure doctors keep up date?

    The RCGP is not a neutral body, it has caused some of these issues with some of its disastrous reforms in GP training and helped generate a less resilient class of new trainee.

    Maureen Baker has been out of her depth at several levels and most obviously when doing any media work.

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  • Anonymous | GP Partner | 28 January 2015 11:45am

    maybe a little over generous describing you as 'quite' naive!

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  • Not naive at all. I know from first hand observation that the college is full of highly intelligent, motivated folk who are passionate about General Practice. Most of then get very little reward for the sterling work that they do on our behalf. What is doubly amazing is that they manage to keep going when faced with the barrage of ill informed spiteful nonsense displayed in some of these comments.

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  • Anonymous | GP Partner | 28 January 2015 12:45pm

    The good intentions of the college are irrelevant.

    We know from the history of medicine how many times drugs and other interventions have caused significant harm despite intelligent and motivated folk aiming not to.

    We have a whole range of issues ( revalidation, fast tracked NICE protocols, Healthchecks, Junior doctor training reorganization etc) where the college and its leaders have failed to see the big picture or protect and help its members.

    The comments you are seeing are a reflection of doctors who are on the frontline, who are aware of the evidence and are not isolated in an academic ivory tower.

    The fact that so many young GP's are bitter should have been ringing alarm bells. At least with Claire Gerada you felt she understood the issues. However she was an exception, those before and after her have been very poor. Do not under estimate how desperate many GP's are right now.

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  • "Most of then get very little reward for the sterling work that they do on our behalf"

    Please could you outline the 'sterling work' that RCGP does?

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  • "the sterling work that they do on our behalf"
    includes trying to kill off partnership, and turns us all into salaried serfs.
    Thanks for that RCGP

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  • So you lot are all active through your LMCs and through your faculties are you? The RCGP and BMA are democratic institutions- get yourself elected and do something about it then . You clearly think these problems are all easily solved and I'm sure we would therefore all benefit from your certainty that you can do better.

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  • should the rcgp rebrand itself as NHSE light or is it just a division of D.O.H ?

    does the RCGP have any relevance to the ordinary frontline GP or does it just represent a small number of GPs with vested interests?

    by awarding the head of the GMC Fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners - does this not undermine the RCGP in it's role of actually representing GPs - you know doctors ???

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  • Anonymous | GP Partner | 28 January 2015 3:24pm

    if you are willing to tow-the-line and agree with the political leadership you will get promoted. the rcgp only wants to hear what it wants to hear.

    if you are an outsider and try to challenge the system you will be crushed hence most of us have to resort to anonymous posting as we do not want to come to the radar of the gmc / bma / rcgp leadership eg Una.

    if i was retirement age and had nothing to lose i would put my name forward and ideas as i'm sure would others.

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  • Why is today's RCGP focused on lobbying, campaigning and duplicating the BMA rather than fulfilling its charitable mission of education and training? You shun the College's founding principles and purpose as espoused by Horder and Pickles. As a result, you diminish General Practice as a discipline. Today's RCGP is simply a PR Trojan Horse for wannabe GP-politicians funded on the back of trainees' fees.

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  • Dr Baker, I have cancelled my membership to RCGP because I feel that you and the College have repeatedly failed to represent me and my profession from the constant barrage from the media and DOH. Why do you think this view is held by many of my GP colleagues?

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  • Took Early Retirement

    Fair Comment 8.56. IN theory the BMA is supposed to be about terms and conditions but maybe Clare Gerada felt that if things went on as they did, there wouldn't be any GPs to train and keep up to date with appropriate education. Hence a difficult tightrope to walk, but I feel Dr B is just a government bunny. However, the best she will get is an OBE for her pains; or maybe an OBN?

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  • there appears to be a lot of negativity to how Dr Baker has handled her role but as someone has commented she was 'democratically' voted in. However, it can't be ignored that a lot of GPs (myself included) do not feel that the RCGP represents their views.

    so the question has to be asked ' what proportion of GPs does the RCGP actually represent ?'

    the next question for those that are not happy with the RCGP is should we form our own college?

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  • How does the RCGP help its members suspended by the GMC? Currently the RCGP automatically suspends their membership at a time the GMC is telling them to return in 6 or 12 months and demonstrate evidence of maintaining their knowledge and clinical skills. By suspending those doctors, the RCGP denies them access to learning materials for members, irrespective of the fact that they had been paying their annual membership fees for years. It's the time that members suspended by the GMC are so vulnerable and in need of academic support from their collage. How do you justify this?

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  • Just over 12 months ago you stated that "the pressures on general practice now are as bad as they've been at any time during your [career as a GP]."

    In recent months you have argued that the future of GP is "looking bright" and urged young doctors "now is the time to consider a career in general practice".

    My experience is that demand, expectations and workload have all increased significantly in the last year. Many practices in my area are in real crisis. A high proportion of GPs in the locality are close to retirement. Our local training scheme has numerous unfilled posts. I'm sure the picture is similar in many parts of the country.

    How does the RCGP plan to bridge the gap between the present and this much hyped golden future, which itself seems to be entirely based a promise of future investment made in the run up to a general election?

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  • Do you think the answer to the recruitment crisis is in the job adverts for Australia? If you swapped the word Australia for Hull, Leicester etc. do you think the GPs going to Australia would change their mind? Or is it more complicated than that?

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  • Why have you not rejected Shape of Training recommendation to shorten hospital consultant training time? It is unsafe and you should support your hospital colleagues

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  • The Rcgp is pushing for an increase in GPs but it's clear there are no funds available for the increased numbers. How is this expansion going to be funded other than with driving down pay? Is a gp fte really only worth £50k per year because that is what will happen if the Rcgp agenda goes through. How much is a gp who has gone through training for 10 years plus taking daily risk and responsibilities many other professionals would not be worth? 50k can be early by a ANP working freelance after a 6 month course and with little responsibility.

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  • If we are only worth £50,000 pa then no amount of publicity about how wonderful job is will encourage any newly qualified doctor become a GP Job satisfaction unfortunately doesn't pay the bills How are you going to ensure income doesn't drop dramatically or are you actually in cahoots with masters and believe should be dumbing down our role which any person with 2 year training eg Physicians Assistants and hence not worth paying for expertise GP as too expensive

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  • It is quite clear there is a recruitment crisis. GP trainees are having to undergo a very stressful training process with very expensive exams.Despite doing all three years of training, the RCGP is stopping these trainees from working in General Practice if they do not pass these exams. How can the RCGP simultaneously say that General Practice is a complex speciality yet permit nurse practitioners and physician assistants to see patients in GP surgeries without passing the AKT and CSA assessments? This is surely a concern for patient safety so why is the RCGP not doing something about this especially as the GP is ultimately liable if nurse practitioners or physician assistants make mistakes?

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  • Why is the RCGP not proposing an alternative funding model given that there will not be more money available?

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  • Zishan Syed 9.12pm makes an excellent point.

    On that note, given we have a recruitment crisis, why is there not an option for unsuccessful trainees to continue working in GP, perhaps with a degree of support/supervision from a mentor or training practice, with an option to re-attempt exams in the future?

    I have seen competent, enthusiastic doctors pass their AKT, workplace based assessments and impress everyone at the practice, only to fall at the final hurdle (CSA). These are doctors we would happily employ over a physician assistant. Why should the A&E middle grade rota be the beneficiary here when these doctors can clearly offer something to general practice?

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  • Dear Dr Baker

    Can the RCGOP please make membership optional for GP trainees.

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  • I would like to ask Maureen Baker 2 questions....
    1 ''Are you aware of mindfulness and particularly Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (mbsr) to help GPs cope with the stress and pressure of the ever increasing demands on our time? A year ago you stated that "the pressures on general practice now are as bad as they've been at any time during your [career as a GP]." Would you support increased awareness of MBSR and access to courses for colleagues, as a way for the RCGP to support it's membership?''
    2. Would you be interested in attending a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course -accessed online, from the comfort of home or anywhere. Mindfulness courses can be delivered easily and very cost efficiently live on-line as web based seminars (webinars) and recordings. I ran one successfully for 141 GPs last year, with excellent feedback and we are running another starting later this month. I would like to extend a personal invitation to you Maureen to try it out, and if you feel it's worthwhile we could collaborate to offer something of real value to GPs in these difficult imes.'' http://www.webinarsforgps.com/2015-mindfulness

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  • Dear Dr Baker , contrary to what others might say , I think you have been doing a sterling job in difficult times!
    It does however seem that A/E consultants/hospitals end up more vocal and more reported as a result. How do we as a group of disparate gps get heard by those that need to hear?

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