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Negative GPs 'damaging the NHS', report claims

GPs are fostering a 'complaining culture' which is unprofessional and damaging the health service, a new report co-produced by several leading doctors is claiming.

The report from the NHS Confederation and Joint Medical Consultative Council, setting out their future vision of the NHS, claims GPs spend too much time complaining rather than working to bring about better practise.

Based on focus group research, which the authors admit could be ‘biased', it included interviews with individual GPs and 20 GPs who were handpicked from the RCGP leadership programme.

‘Reading the popular medical press and postings on websites we might have expected to encounter cynicism, disillusion and negativity,' says the report. ‘Perhaps because of the deliberate selection bias built into the design of our work, we found little.'

It goes on to attack the ‘complaining culture' caused by the frustrations of those working in the NHS. These could be viewed as ‘unprofessional and should be challenged', it said.

The report said doctors ‘should be more involved in NHS reform policies, such as the rollout of the electronic care record and look for a ‘positive way forward rather than focusing on current faults.'

The report's steering group included Dr James Johnson, former BMA chair who was forced to resign in May after failing to represent his members views over the MTAS scandal, Dr Jon Ford, BMA policy advisor and Professor Mayur Lakhani, outgoing RCGP chair.

This week the BMA distanced itself from the report, which was unveiled the day before health minister Lord Darzi revealed the interim findings of his NHS Review.

Dr Ian Wilson, deputy chair of the BMA's central consultants and specialists committee and another member of the steering group said: ‘I don't think that the authors are saying that we're serial complainers; what we need to do is not just point out the bad in our system but the potential for good, which is a professional way of working.'

Dr Gloria Middleton, a GP partner in Sunderland and chair of the Institute of Healthcare Management said: ‘They are just kicking us while we're down'. She added that GPs do not complain enough.'

Dr Martin Seeley, a GP in Manchester, said: ‘We're not allowed to go to complain about our PCTs to the press, nor are consultants in hospitals, so I don't know where they've got all these complaints from - unless they are in the medical press. But what else is the medical press for? We should be able to voice our views in the medical journals.'

‘I don't think the majority of GPs like being complained about by professors in ivory towers who see their two patients a week, they should come down the frontline and see what it's really like.'

Professor Lakhani - one of the report's steering group Professor Lakhani - one of the report's steering group From the NHS Confederation/JMCC report From the NHS Confederation/JMCC report

Reading the popular medical press and postings on websites we might have expected to encounter cynicism, disil-lusion and negativity. Perhaps because of the deliberate selection bias built into the design of our work, we found little.

The NHS Confederation/JMCC report The NHS Confederation/JMCC report

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