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Medical graduates left ‘frightened’ to tell trainers they want to become GPs

Junior doctors are ‘frightened’ of telling trainers in secondary care that they are considering a career in general practice because they don’t want to be excluded from secondary care procedures or clinics, the chair-elect of RCGP Wales has claimed.

Speaking from the floor at the Urgent Health UK 2015 conference, Dr Rebecca Payne called on commissioners to do something about the lack of respect shown to the profession, warning that she had been told that future GPs were being prevented from carrying out procedures. 

NHS England head of primary care Dr David Geddes said that there was a ’stigma’ in medical schools around future GPs.

It came in a session given by Dr Geddes on NHS England’s commissioning strategy for primary care, during which delegates said the picture of general practice being presented in the Five Year Forward View and plans for tackling GP workforce issues ‘didn’t match reality’

Dr Payne – who becomes chair of RCGP Wales later this month – said that GPs were ‘denigrated’.

She said: ‘When I’m at work, no one can disrespect me because of my race, my sexuality, my gender or my religion. But I can be disrespected and denigrated because I’m a GP.’

She added: ‘Junior doctors tell me that, on the wards, they’re frightened to tell people that they want to be GPs because then they don’t get the opportunities to carry out procedures or go to clinics.’

In response, Dr Geddes said that this was unacceptable. 

He said: ’The feeling among GP registrars, that they’re embarrassed to say they’re a GP registrar, that’s absolutely what Health Education England, the RCGP and NHS England want to stamp out.

‘That is prejudice and it’s certainly not where we want to go, because we need far more GPs than we need more consultants. So let’s get more secondary care people working in community.’

 Dr Geddes said he was aware of general practice being shown a lack of respect in medical schools.

He told delegates the issue had previously been raised by RCGP England chair Dr Maureen Baker, who met medical schools to discuss the ‘toxic anti GP culture’ in universities.

Dr Geddes added: ‘Maureen Baker was saying there are still difficulties with many medical schools saying “you want to be going into this kind of area of medicine, you want to go into acute care. Some of you won’t be able to make it and might go into general practice.”

‘It’s that stigma that still exists in some medical schools that I’m aware of.’



Readers' comments (21)

  • Dr Geddes says medical schools not showing General Practice respect,Hes one to talk head of primary care NHSE look a little closer to home matey.

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  • To Dr. Payne,

    The feeling is nation wise. I have hated myself since I change my speciality to general practice. I am the same person, the same doctor, the moment I started being a GP, I lost the respect from patients over night.

    GP trainees in the wards, are for putting in venflons only.

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  • Respect is earned, not demanded. Nuf said.

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  • I recently went to a friends house for dinner with people I had never met. The topic of jobs came up and even as a GP of 25 years I felt almost embarrassed to admit I was a GP. Geddes and his friends at NHSE, DoH and the Daily Rags have belittled and destroyed GP.

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  • I recall in pediatric block the lead consultant sharking with Pediatric trainees only , refused to shake the GPVTS ; we were left feeling un-welcome, more in number and contributed more to peads department.At every opportunity he tried to sabotage our training days and sturdy leave.

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  • I am embarrassed to say I am a GP when talking to people I don't know. Left a bridge group because I was sick of the "nice to earn £500 000 a year" jokes and "it's about bloody time GPs did some work". That last comment from a ( very thick) senior AE manager.
    I now just say I am a housewife/ retired.

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  • Guess its the net result of recruiting people into medicine from arrogant backgrounds. The profession is full of completely the wrong people. Maybe recruiting from more deprived backgrounds and re-locating medical schools to such areas could help. At the moment medicine is still elitist and the back biting individualistic types feel they can look good by belittling GP and behaving like this.

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  • The skills and knowledge to be an effective GP and the resilience to deal with complaints and workload means that specialty doctors could be accussed of hiding in the monoliths not prepared to face the real world- I'll fix my bit then see the GP. When we're gone I wonder how they'll cope having to do their own follow up.

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  • It's precisely the doctors referred to in this article who have made GP the embarrassing profession it now is

    Instead of spouting predictable self-important drivel, do a proper job like full time general practice
    Some people take the easy option getting jobs telling everyone else what to do plus a session a week ' to keep your hand in'
    So, you are not qualified to advise me, and for answers to the question why GP has become so unpopular, look no further than yourselves

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  • Vinci Ho

    Look , who's talking ?
    ''when the cat mourns for the rat, it is merely showing sham pity'' a Chinese saying

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  • This is all rubbish. When I left moved from surgical SHO training around MTAS to GP all the trainees were doing the same. There was no 'shame' as it was perceived to be a much brighter career than hospitals.
    Now the balance has changed again so fewer people want to do it.
    This is one area where prospective GPs do need to toughen up. If they believe GP is the best specialty be honest with others regarding your decision.
    Allowing general practice to flourish as a career is the only option to solve GP recruitment. Stop trying to make it a PR issue.

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  • Bob Hodges

    Having graduated in Wales, and left specialist training in Wales to become a GP, I've NEVER felt 2nd class in any way.

    General Practice is the new Rock and Roll....

    ...and far as I'm concerned, I'm Elvis.

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  • This article is about 20 years old. General Practice has always been looked down upon by Secondary Care...and shall forever !

    You guys have only just found out....tut, tut !
    I could give you quotes with times and dates and places and NAMES but that would be 'frowned upon' !!!

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  • Look. I think we should recognise that our secondary care colleagues still do a good job. Years ago if you referred a patient with say abdominal pain or anaemia or anything you wish to think of , they would come back with a diagnosis and a management plan and be followed up before being passed back to us for ongoing care. They were the experts and we were the all rounders.
    Now patients are passed back to us, having had a number of tests which have not revealed a diagnosis , but the patient is still suffering from the original symptoms with which they presented. Our secondary care colleagues are often now technicians rather than physicians, and we are now the experts! We should , however, still value the support they give us!
    I think patients do value what we do, perhaps too much, as the weight of responsibility is sometimes too heavy. We should not be afraid of informing ignorant members of the public, mainly politicians and the media, of the reality of medical practice in the UK, and what incredible value we are, before it is lost. It is probably too late.

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  • Could also be a good way of getting out of doing procedures such as LPs if you don't want to do them..."The CT needs the experience more than I do"

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  • When secondary care doctors fail to recall seriously ill patients, suddenly pick up something urgent that they ignored from the gp or encountered a complaint from our patient- from my experience- that's when they creep up to us. Our patients have stood up for us whenever they encounter comments against us from hospital doctors. Gps should stand proud.

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  • Nothing new about this. What is actually hurtful is the public's easy acceptance that we're rich, lazy fat cats driving Porsches. I'm less concerned about what medical schools or consultants think.

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  • Is this evidence based, doubt it! New chair making a lot of noise? Hello,I have arrived...please like my FB page.

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  • I am not ashamed
    We do a wonderful job and when we have all gone they will realise that!

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  • Bob Hodges
    General Practice is the new Rock and Roll....and far as I'm concerned, I'm Elvis.

    LOVE IT! Rock on Bob! Ahhh hahh huh.

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