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Negativity in general practice 'is worst I’ve known', says RCGP chair

Exclusive RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard has complained that the 'negativity' within the general practice profession is the worst she has ever known.

In an exclusive interview with two members of Pulse's trainee editorial board, she said this was 'tragic' because it was putting people off going into 'the greatest job in the world'.

And, although Professor Stokes-Lampard acknowledged that this was linked to lacking resources, she suggested experienced GPs should do their best to try to inspire GP trainees.

She said: 'The negativity is probably the worst I’ve ever known and that’s tragic because it’s putting people off doing what, to my mind, is the greatest job in the world...

'The negativity is a consequence of a whole decade of under-investment and under-resource and so it’s understandable. But it’s not helpful.'

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

According to Professor Stokes-Lampard, 'we know the pendulum will swing back again' and therefore GPs should 'be inspiring for the future'.

Despite this, Professor Stokes-Lampard did criticise the progress of NHS England's GP Forward View rescue package to date, describing it as ‘really not great’.

An RCGP report concluded this week that the GP Forward View is failing to have a ‘positive impact’ on GPs at the frontline, with it’s commitment to add 5,000 GPs to the workforce by 2020 in need of an ‘urgent rethink’.

But Professor Stokes-Lampard said: 'Being a GP on a good day, in a surgery that’s properly resourced and properly staffed is fantastic.

'That richness of the relationship with patients, what you can do for people and to be part of the community is so amazing. That’s why I do it, and that’s why most of us do it.'

Professor Stokes-Lampard also attempted to reassure new GPs about the future of the profession, saying that 'there’s always been a crisis in general practice' and 'there’s always been GPs frightened about the future'.

'But patients’ need for a trusted health care professional is constant,' she added.

Her words come as earlier this week, Pulse's survey of 282 GP trainees found that nearly 40% of have considered abandoning training because of stress.

Pulse's survey also found that around four in ten GP trainees intend to take on a partnership within five years of qualification, with only one in ten ruling it out at any point.

Professor Stokes-Lampard said: 'I think what will be different is the way that we work. We’ll be working in larger and larger groups... There will be partnerships but that will be one of a range of ways of delivering care.'


Readers' comments (48)

  • The Prof is confusing sine waves with col Ny collapse curves.

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  • I believe in being HONEST with my registrars. I try to help them become an excellent GP. BUT explain that even with all the skills and knowledge, working as GP in the NHS will not enable them to fulfil their potential as a GP.They need to understand what factors in their working environment impede their ability to adequately and safely care for their patients.Without this knowledge they cannot make decisions about what /where they will practice when they have completed their training.
    If I was their age I would be looking long and hard at all the systems in other countries to find one which I can practice happily in . It would not be the UK.

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  • Improve appraisal . Ns end more resilience packs. Pay more to college examiners to do better jobs. Get your prorities in focus to market general practice or ....

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  • I find it a little difficult to see how reducing our funding, reducing our autonomy, increasing regulation and increasing our administrative workload will result in the pendulum swinging back in favour of general practice as a career choice. At the moment, there's little about UK general practice to appeal to graduates who, above all else, want to be doctors.

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  • AlanAlmond

    How on earth does this person get to be 'representing' us?
    The role of the RCGP is to set academic standards and guide training. It is not a political organisation. Forever we get lectures from self important RCGP chairs grandstanding their personal opinions. Cant you put a sock in it and concentrate on your job? You have no real mandate to be lecturing your colleagues.

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  • The point is I think that the RCGP is an organisation that is funded by the poor mugs who take their exam. An exam that has been made longer and harder to pass as the years go by. We are being asked to not put off trainees who haven't yet parted with their money.
    Personally I can't understand why the head of an exam factory thinks she can speak for GPs as a whole, where is her mandate?

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  • RCGP should hibernate for few weeks or months. All GPs will forget everything soon. You will be in our good list soon. Just like cqc, before inspection we hated them, if passed we told other people how good we are, and how hard we worked for cqc inspection.
    can pulse write article or do some research how CQC inspectors are helping inadequate surgeries for money. I know conflict of interest doesn't exist for LMC, CCG, Federations and CQC inspectors.

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  • Healthy Cynic

    Oh dear Prof. Lampard, looking at these comments your statement seems to have fostered some GP negativity. The worst I've seen in fact.
    Leadership is not about running down your colleagues.

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