This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

Gold, incentives and meh

RCGP withdraws invitation for Julia Hartley-Brewer to speak at conference

The RCGP has withdrawn its invitation for Julia Hartley-Brewer to speak at its upcoming annual conference, following criticism from GPs.

The organisation said it had 'become clear that some of the views she has expressed are too much at odds with the core values of RCGP and our members, and our work to promote inclusivity within the profession & among patients'.

The decision comes after GP Survival founder Dr Alan Woodall set up a petition deeming Ms Hartley-Brewer’s inclusion at the RCGP event as an ‘insult to the thousands of international doctors who have come to work as GPs in the NHS’.

The petition, which attracted over 700 signatures, highlighted that the broadcaster 'has expressed views that are highly controversial regarding immigration' and called for the RCGP to revoke its invitation. 

Dr Woodall also condemned comments made by Ms Hartley-Brewer in which she said she could not see anything wrong with Enoch Powell’s 1968 ‘rivers of blood’ speech.

Meanwhile, other GPs have threatened to withdraw their RCGP membership if Ms Hartley-Brewer appeared at the conference.

In a statement issued today, the RCGP said: ‘We have written to Julia Hartley-Brewer withdrawing her invite to speak at RCGPAC. It has become clear that some of the views she has expressed are too much at odds with the core values of RCGP and our members, and our work to promote inclusivity within the profession & among patients.’

An RCGP spokesperson also said: ‘A key purpose of the RCGP annual conference is to provoke debate about a wide range of issues impacting on general practice, the wider NHS and patient care – and we remain committed to putting together a programme that challenges our thinking and encompasses a broad range of views.

‘But further social media posts have come to light that we were unaware of when we invited Julia Hartley-Brewer to speak as part of a panel that are not conducive to the work we are doing to promote inclusivity within the profession and amongst patients, so we have made the decision to cancel her invitation to RCGPAC.

‘Free speech is a cornerstone of our society and unless they are speaking in an official College capacity, speakers at our annual conference do not necessarily represent the views of the RCGP. But we are also an organisation committed to upholding the core values of the profession and of our members, and it has become clear that some of her views are too much at odds with these.’

Other speakers planned for the conference include health secretary Matt Hancock, GMC chair Dame Clare Marx and Professor Sir Michael Marmot, director of the Institute of Health Equity at University College London.

Previously, the RCGP said its conference speakers ‘do not necessarily’ reflect RCGP views and that Ms Hartley-Brewer was invited because she is the daughter of an NHS GP, as well as to ‘provoke debate’ on issues concerning general practice.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said at the time: ‘A key purpose of the RCGP annual conference is to provoke debate about a wide range of issues impacting on general practice, the wider NHS and patient care.

'Delegates are not expected to agree with everything they hear – indeed the conference is an opportunity to challenge views they disagree with – but it is important that we explore issues from a variety of perspectives, including controversial ones.'

She added: ‘Unless they are speaking in an official college capacity, speakers at our annual conference do not necessarily represent the views of the RCGP.’

Julia Hartley Brewer responds to RCGP's decision and explains the context for her 2016 'Rivers Of Blood' tweet

 

Readers' comments (50)

  • The college have got this wrong. Essentially they have been blackmailed by the threats of resignation and loss of income.
    The correct thing would have been to challenge not to ban.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Well, how do you respond to a bully? You can either cave, or you can challenge them.

    Blackmailed? No, it had a choice. They may have lost some members if they didn't cave, but conversely they may have gained members if they actually stood up for the principle of free speech - which is fundamental to the advancement of society. Fear and pessimism are strong motivators, sadly.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 1. Agree with chris Ho.

    2. Let her speak then make her listen to others speak. If we only listen to the "party line" what is there to debate??

    3. to all those who can only throw in there membership if they feel "Offended" - grow up

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Predictable
    Pathetic
    Pusillanimous

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • If I hadn't cancelled my subscription years ago I would now

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Inclusive unless we don’t like what you say. Is that the RCGP position?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2019/05/the-rcgps-ridiculous-decision-to-no-platform-me/

    A very trenchant and entirely appropriate response. Interesting background information on these deniers of free speech as well.
    This is a very very bad day for the college.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I am an international doctor.
    In my internbational opinion the RCGP are a bunch of self serving racists (anyone recall the furore over the low pass rates of anyone who wasn't the right skin shade?).
    Other than serving to over complicatr training, presiding over a catastrophic decline in numbers of GPs and morale what do they acheive. I've been to one or two of the conferences in the past -- I mean it was an excuse to get out of work, the only interesting bits were the keynote speech and the stalls. The rest was the usual rubbish. Honestly didnt affect my practice. Disband the whole lot and put primary care under the Rollege of Physicians who franly have more kudos and a clue.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This sets a very dangerous precedent, but entirely expected from the illiberal left. Whilst you may disagree with JHB's views, she should be entitled to express them on this platform. Yet again the RCGP has shown its invertebrate tendencies and caved in to the hurty feelings brigade. So glad I quit my membership. £519 well saved.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • BAP dear oh dear. How did your colleagues (if you have any) feel about you finding excuses to get out of work?

    And careful what you say calling people self serving racists.

    And just to finally shut you up - how does the machine marked AKT know about "skin shade"?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say