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Professor Bill Irish: 'Certain medical schools have a very low output of GPs'

Professor Bill Irish talks about the range of issues that have contributed to a shortage of GPs.


Readers' comments (7)

  • What do you expect when General Practice has been stripped of its "street cred"
    *no out of hours so no real "crunch" terminal care or emergencies just 9-5 box ticking
    * no obstetrics or even antenatal care to speak of
    *clinics held in secondary care that rob GP's of any remaining skills /breathless clinics/early preg clinics /heart failure clinics/knee pain clinics the list grows daily
    *nurses doing more and more of our work forever rubbishing any claim we may have had for whole patient care
    *consenting to be paid for what any good doctor would do taking the BP of a diabetic for Gods sake what have we become !!!
    No my friends General Practice is for second class Doctors thats why no one wants to do it

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  • It is interesting to note the same comments are being made by Family Physicians in US. They are in the decline, replaced by nurses as graduates move to more exciting and better salaried roles in hospital posts. General Practice and Family Physicians need to reclaim the middle ground of family and intermediate care.

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  • I think it's time to write my book! It would start with a home delivery of twins. With a midwife assisting me! The family dog at my feet. If only I could say that all David Hogg has said isn't true. Sadly it is, all of it. But, when the chips are down who is the first person the patients run to...... Sure isn't my staff !

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  • This is interesting. I once dealt with a GMC fitness to practise case where the doctor (a GP) said in evidence that he felt like a failure because he attended medical school at Cambridge and his professor often said that no one graduating in medicine from Cambridge should "just" be a GP.

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  • As an anaesthetic trainee, GP was literally at the bottom of my list of specialties! At medical school they tried to get us interested in it but it was a bit of a joke. We had weekly sessions with a GP and community worker in first year and I vividly remember being bored learning about the bio-psychosocial model of illness, and other 'general nonsense'! Subsequent GPs that I encountered made it clear that they hated their careers/lives and I just did not find them to be very inspiring people from the job they did to the clothes they wore and the way they spoke.

    In anaesthetics, I have the opportunity to grow into all the various sub-specialties and there is a well established history of diversification. I compare this to GP - what can a GP actually do?

    1. Prescribe something that is often not needed
    2. Refer

    Some say that you get to 'know' you're patients and their families, but in all honesty, that sends shivers down my spine.

    When I worked in EM, Monday's were an absolute nightmare! GPs would send in patients unnecessarily wasting their time and ours. There were common themes to why other people would end up in the ED: "they said it would two weeks for an appointment", "my GP said I have x but I'm not sure", "my GP, aren't they just for getting sick notes from? I don't feel well thats why I came to hospital, what if I need tests?" (young people).

    GP is boring and the profession has been deskilled. There are clinics for most things run by specialists leaving GPs dealing with the patients nobody else can help. Is a medical degree necessary?

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  • There is a difference between a specialty that is difficult to get into and a specialty that is difficult to do well.

    Most specialties, including GP, are difficult to do well and some high achieving doctors who are excellent at their own specialty might find GP difficult.

    However we can't ignore that some medical schools are harder to get into than others, and that the students from those schools might on average have different aspirations and academic skills than those from other universities.

    We shouldn't encourage each university to produce the same number of GPs - I love being a GP but can think of lots of my peers who would not suit working in this specialty, although they would easily get in and through training.

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  • It's just market forces. General practice is not sufficiently remunerated for the sacrifices made to family life etc. The job has little or no status. I earned less per hour than a train driver when I worked in the UK. Politicisation of the GP contract, constant negative spin from the Govt and media etc etc. That's why I left the UK and its why no young Dr wants to do the job.

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