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King's fund inquiry 'a weapon to bash GPs with'

By Steve Nowottny

The King's Fund's wide-ranging inquiry into quality in general practice will be used as a ‘weapon to bash GPs with', GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman has warned.

In an exclusive interview with Pulse on the eve of the LMCs conference, Dr Buckman revealed that the BMA had not been invited to serve on the expert panel overseeing the inquiry, which includes RCGP chair Professor Steve Field and NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon.

The 18-month inquiry, launched in April, had already come under fire from BMA Council member Dr Kailash Chand, who accused it of being run by ‘a bunch of academics looking for errors and poor performance yet.'

But Dr Buckman's comments are the first indication of wider unease among the BMA leadership at an inquiry which will draw up a series of quality indicators for use by managers, commissioners and regulators.

Dr Buckman said: ‘The fact that the BMA are excluded from that inquiry, other than as just another stakeholder, I think that's unfortunate.'

‘You would have thought that the only GP representative organisation might actually be invited to represent GPs.'

He added: ‘The word inquiry is an unfortunate word, because inquiry is very close to the word inquisition, which is never a term of endearment.'

‘I think [the inquiry] will be used by those who like to do such things as another weapon to bash GPs with.'

But King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson insisted: ‘None of our panel has been invited to represent a particular organisation. The individual panellists have been chosen because of their own personal expertise; they are all practising GPs or, in one case, a nurse with experience in the community.'

‘So far we've been pleased with the support and encouragement we've received from both the chairman of the BMA and the GPC,' he added.

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