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Don't denigrate profession in front of trainees, RCGP chair tells GPs

GPs should avoid making negative comments about the general practice profession in front of trainees, according to the chair of the RCGP.

Speaking at Pulse Live Birmingham, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard suggested that although GPs do need to vent their frustrations, they should do so only when in the company of senior colleagues.

This follows earlier suggestions from RCGP for medical schools to crack down on negative 'banter' against general practice as a profession.

Professor Stokes-Lampard said: 'We all need a safe space to be negative and a safe space to vent. Use your peers and your seniors to vent. Don’t vent on your juniors, it’s destructive and unhelpful.'

She added: ‘For every negative thing you say to a trainee, somebody else has got to say ten or more good things to reassure them there is a future for general practice.’

At the same conference, Professor Stokes-Lampard also addressed the thorny question of GPs moving to a salaried model - after being forced to deny earlier this year that the GP partnership model was 'unfit for purpose'.

Professor Stokes-Lampard told the Pulse Live audience: ‘The partnership model won’t be right for every area of the country. Indeed in [one area of] Brighton all seven practices have handed back their contract. They just couldn’t recruit. The partnership model died there.’

Brighton has seen seven practices close in the past two years – including four closures that have displaced a total of almost 9,000 patients since NHS England’s support package was announced in April last year - and an eighth is due to close later this year.

Professor Stokes-Lampard also said that she was personally ‘sad’ that some areas had lost the partnership-model approach. But she pointed out that some areas do go salaried ‘because they’re visionary and some do it out of desperation’.

She added: ‘It’s sad but it’s the way it is. I’m not going to try and hide the truth. This is a fact.

'Some parts of central London, some parts of Birmingham, and well Brighton, [the partnership model] is gone.

'It was too late, it was too difficult, they had to do something different and be creative. And they have turned it into a success in some places.’

She warned that the hardest thing about changing from a partnership model to a salaried one is retaining sensitive patient care.

‘If you care about your patients, you want to have a long-term relationship with those who need it.

‘You get a better therapeutic relationship if you know the patient, their contacts, their family, their social and psychological factors as well as their physical – and retaining that is difficult but it’s being done brilliantly in some places.’

Should GPs talk up the profession to new entrants?

Professor Stokes-Lampard’s comments come as the GP recruitment crisis does not appear to be showing any signs of recovery.

In May, Pulse’s annual practice vacancies survey was answered by 860 GPs and revealed that 12.2% of all positions are currently vacant – up from the 11.7% reported at the same time last year.

The RCGP and Royal College of Psychiatrists teamed up last year to call for an end to negative 'banter' in medical schools, which they claimed amounted to 'systematic denigration’ of general practice and psychiatry careers, putting off graduates from choosing the specialties.

Although the campaign had the hashtag #banthebash, the colleges insisted at the time they were not about 'prohibition of banter' but about ‘fostering respect between specialties'.

Meanwhile, medical schools which aim to boost GP trainee uptake by exposing students to general practice could see extra funding, under Government plans outlined earlier this year.

Readers' comments (76)

  • Please apply this to your own RCGP Deanery members. Some GP trainees have to work 8,9 sessions, the record being 10 sessions. When asked why this trainee worked 10 sessions , he/she replied not a problem ...but had to complete the year, get signed off. So the RCGP allows its own Deanery members (MRCGP) but bot haccountable to them as protected by HEE. Helen and Clare are such nice people, but need to look at the abusive culture of some of it members.

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  • Some of the negativity comes from the members of the Deanery as well as RCGP. If you want to ruin the trainees lives, give them 8,9 sessions to do - service work-(Mon-friday), remove training. Then complain nonstop that the trainees are not good enough. Then charge them anyextra exam revision course insurance 1K to do the MRCGP, adding to their debt, whilst doing locums to pay off debt. The record is 10 sessions in a week- all service work, no training, and daft approval system that has allowed trainees in London to be abused.. and go into another branch of medicine. RCGP cannot and must not turn a blind eye to its educational iatrogenesis- the laughing stock of our hospital colleagues (PS some of my best friends are...fiends..)

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  • "in the final version of Newspeak there'll be nothing else. In the end the whole notion of goodness and badness will be covered by only six words – in reality, only one word. Don't you see the beauty of that?" George Orwell 1984

    General Practice is Doubleplusgood. Sign up to RCGP now. HSL 2017

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  • To mac Donald's medicine, so no snakes , what about the opera? Sounds pretty good if that is confined to the mainland also.

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  • Vinci Ho

    I see this as a healthy debate ( some may not agree). Send your comment if you have things to unload in your chest, please.
    Yes, I am never a MRCGP , you can criticise me being biased , I welcome that kind of comment.

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  • Dear Cedric, its the end of the day ..... finished on time....again...... short drive home, not much traffic......opening a bottle of local pinot noir...... the night sky is fantastic..... beautiful moon, and the stars (And this is winter)...... ah the fight about one hour to Melbourne if you fancy it,.... with the money saved being in Tasmania (As opposed to living in Melbourne) you can go stay in a fabulous hotel, eat in some of the best restaurants..... have a great weekend and fly home again........... just received histology report.... tumour close to lateral canthus, completely excised..... specimen excised Friday afternoon, specimen sent Monday morning, result Tuesday afternoon........professional satisfaction..... priceless..... now you were saying why I would want to halve my salary, leave the vineyards behind and return to the UK to prop up Jeremy Hunt? Oh, did I mention private schools....£6k per year... about a weeks salary roughly..... sorry I interrupted you with my whinging... you were saying? :-)

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  • Dear Cedric. 30+ years as a partner eh? So not too far from retirement, with that decent pension ...that none of the current juniors will ever get (or any of us under 40-odd). Sorry, but it's all too easy for you to paint things as not that bad, when you're not facing having to retire at 70 (75?) with a crap pension. Or face becoming a salaried drone for a private healthcare company, for a crap salary and management harassment. Things really ARE awful, and about to get a whole lot worse.

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  • Council of Despair

    the question needs to be asked as to why the RCGP is raising this as an issue?

    is it because they have promised HEE help to increase GP numbers so that political goals can be achieved.

    it raises the issue as the role of the rcgp ;

    a) is it to promote GP education?
    b) is it to safeguard patients?
    c) is it to ensure it's own survival at all costs?
    d) is it to represent it's agenda?
    e) is it to represent GPs?

    observing the RCGP for some time - it exists NOT to represent GPs interests but it's own survival - in order to do that it has to please those that can cause it harm i.e. the state and the public. GPs are of no consequence. The RCGP will attempt to persuade, cajole or use emotional blackmail to keep GPs in line in order to please those that it fears.

    not reaching the '5000' extra GPs will be embarassing for the state so the RCGP has to do it's part and twist our collective arm.

    of course divide and rule also works and I'm not going to object to Cedric's views - he is entitled to contribute his views which are valued even if we disagree with him. It is healthy to hear different perspectives and those future GPs will hopefully be looking at this feedback and form their own views. They can read the press and digest the issues re: GPs and I'm sure they will make intelligent choices.

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  • The government could ease the strain on general practice by paying for indemnity. For a third of the price of 10 DUP politicians it could take the heat out of the recruitment crisis .

    It chooses not to do so .
    From this we can infer that it has no intention of improving the situation but is intent on kicking away the foundations of the NHS in order to privatise it.

    It is clear . For Cedric they might like to take out a full page ad in the times .

    For everyone else the writing is on the wall.

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  • my profession is based on honesty, thats how the relationship should work and we are respected still ( as in recent surveys ) because of this. patients know we are struggling, CCGs sometimes know we are struggling but have no money to do anything about it - why therefore - are we being asked to not be honest about our work by our representatives? are we being asked to shut up or censored for telling the truth - because this is how it feels on the receiving end of such "advice".recruitment was not an issue when the pay was good, the pension untouched and work hours were less stressful. why not address the actual issues rather than blame the workers? sometimes the truth hurts but it needs to be said. i feel the rcgp have lost touch with us working GPs and are too close to government thinking - at this point they are nothing more than an information website. so sad.

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