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With paediatrics now being hived off to 'community specialists', where is all this leading, asks Copperfield. What role will be left for GPs when all else has been stripped away?

With paediatrics now being hived off to 'community specialists', where is all this leading, asks Copperfield. What role will be left for GPs when all else has been stripped away?

Ironic, isn't it? Here I am blogging away and there you are reading this and between us I'd say we probably have 30 odd years experience of looking after sick kids.

And GP training, which nearly always contains a large portion of paediatrics anyway, is being extended to five years. And for once I'd agree with the awful phrase ‘ideally placed', in that GPs really are ideally placed to look after the kids on their list – on account of all that training, experience and the fact that we know all about the little oiks' family foibles.

Yet, in the world according to Darzi, paediatrics is going to be hived off to a new breed of community paediatric specialist. This isn't so much chipping away at the role of the GP. It's laying into it with a sodding great sledge-hammer.

And what's going to happen out-of-hours – which is when these kids have a habit of getting ill – when we GPs are paediatrically de-skilled? Is there going to be an on-call community paediatrician?

Or will it be left to us GPs, by then doubtless propping up OOH and also by then very paediatrically rusty? Or – and this is where it gets really funny – will emergency paediatric care be left to casualty officers whose paediatric experience amounts to…er…let's think now…bugger all.

Besides, where will it all end? All minor illness to nurses? Diabetes to nursey pseudo-specialists? Musculoskeletal problems to open access physios?

Oh, hang on, that's all happening already. Which leaves the ‘general' part of practitioner where, exactly? Replaced by another word, which reflects all that is left for us to do in our target-driven, fragmented, post-Darzi world.

You, reader, and me, blogger, only have futures as CPs: cholesterol practitioners.

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will emergency paediatric care be left to casualty officers whose paediatric experience amounts to…er…let's think now…bugger all.

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