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Even as UK GPs are praised for world-class care, Phil sees red at the latest proposal to deskill them

Even as UK GPs are praised for world-class care, Phil sees red at the latest proposal to deskill them

A couple of news articles on Pulse's website caught my eye this week. The first was: 'UK GPs "among the best in the world", international survey finds'. None of us is going to be particularly shocked at that revelation.

A Survey Of Primary Care Physicians In Eleven Countries, 2009: Perspectives On Care, Costs, And Experiences was published by the something called the Commonwealth Fund, and seems to be an exercise in trashing US primary healthcare (which turns out to be astonishingly crap, despite the ludicrous amount they spend on mandatory check-ups). While they're putting the boot into America, it transpires the UK is a shining beacon of cost-effective general practice.

I don't want to bore you with an extensive list of all the ways we lead the world, but let's give a brief mention to just a few. Nobody uses electronic records better than us, and nobody has shorter waiting times to refer for specialist care. We're second-best at arranging out-of-hours care (no longer our direct responsibility, I'll grant you) but we're way ahead in responding to clinical outcomes and patient experiences. I'd be more enthusiastic about that if I knew what it meant. But if you want an effective process for identifying and responding to adverse clinical events, you want to live either in the UK or Sweden.

Andy Burnham, our arriviste, 'five-minutes-in-the-job' health minister, was impressively quick off the blocks, and pretended it was all down to the Labour Party. 'This is an important moment for the NHS,' he pontificated, pathetically. 'The journey to overhaul the quality of care over the past 10 years has paid off.'

Shockingly destructive

What a prick. How dare he presume that the quality of British GPs has anything to do with him or his shockingly destructive political masters? We're professionals, and we were the best in the world long before his chippy, here-today-gone-tomorrow, meddling, vote-manipulating Nu-Labour ignoramuses came to power.

I'll give him his due - his party are doing their level best to destroy us. Walk-in centres, Darzi clinics and prescribing powers for nurses and chemists all do their bit to devalue the GP. They're happy to let any uneducated berk do our job, while simultaneously hoisting more and more hoops for us to leap through to keep doing what we've always done, and done well.

The second article I saw this week was 'GPs to lose lead role in paediatric care', and the proposal to introduce a whole new tier of 'practitioners' (read 'nurses') to remove the responsibility for medical care of children from GPs. Apparently we're not doing it well enough, although I'd like to see some evidence - any evidence - that it can be done better.

I am genuinely too weary to point out the obvious myriad stupidities and foolish ignorance behind this monstrous idiocy.

I cannot begin to imagine what colossal, brain-dead dickery led to this pathetic, self-destructive non-starter of an idea.

'If it's not broke, don't fix it' is a boring truism. But our profession is in the grip of morons who are under the erroneous impression that change means progress. They're idiots. Bastard idiots.

Dr Phil Peverley is a GP in Sunderland

Phil Peverley

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