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'Tide is turning' on GP underinvestment, RCGP chair tells Pulse readers

The chair of the RCGP has claimed the ‘tide is turning’ on the underinvestment in general practice, and now is the ‘best time in a generation to become a GP’ in a Q&A session with Pulse readers.

During the live session on pulsetoday.co.uk, Dr Maureen Baker defended the video made by the college aimed at encouraging graduates to join general practice from accusations that it was ‘boring’.

She said that the college has been ‘really successful’ in making the case for extra investment in general practice, and politicians and the NHS are committed to building a new deal.

It comes as MPs are set to debate a motion on the pressures facing general practice this week, following a petition by the RCGP.

During the Q&A session, Dr Baker responded to a question from Dr David Coleman, a GP in Doncaster, who asked: ‘How does the RCGP plan to bridge the gap between the present and this much hyped golden future, which itself seems to be entirely based a promise of future investment made in the run up to a general election?’

Dr Baker answered: ‘Recent years in general practice have been really tough - the greatest pressure in all my 30 years in general practice. But we feel we have been really successful in making the case for greater investment in general practice and that this has been heard, both by politicians and by the NHS (thus the commitment to building the new deal).

‘So I feel confident that the tide is turning and that now is the best time in a generation to become a GP, in terms of the employment opportunities and the investment that will be coming into general practice.’

Dr Shabi Nabi, a Pulse blogger and a GP in Bristol, asked Dr Baker about why the video produced by the RCGP was ‘so boring’, adding: ‘How is picking up scripts from reception going to entice young people? Why didn’t you show GPs working on cruise ships, the Antarctic, being involved with education, doing endoscopies etc? These are all the things that make the career so great as it is versatile.’

Dr Baker responded: ‘Actually we had lots of very positive feedback from this and over 10.000 views. If we had loads of money and time, no doubt we could have produced a mini-masterpiece (perhaps Danny Boyle will be free…) but I think the team did a pretty good job with the tiny resource and the time available.

‘The career is great - or can be - and what really came across to me was the passion and sincerity of all those involved in producing this.’

Meanwhile, MPs will debate and vote on the pressures facing GPs on Thursday in response to a petition from the RCGP.

A cross-party group is sponsoring a motion calling on health secretary Jeremy Hunt to secure the financial future of general practice urgently.

Over 300,000 people have signed the petition, which calls for the drop in NHS funding to be reversed.

The RCGP is writing to all English MPs urging them to attend and calling on members to write to their local MP through the College’s website.

Dr Baker said: ‘This is further evidence that we are getting our message across.

‘But we are yet to see these promises converted into tangible resources to relieve the immense pressure on GPs and enable them to provide high quality care to our patients.’

Readers' comments (40)

  • codswollop

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  • 'The water level in the hold is falling. The bulkheads are holding. The iceberg is in the distance. No need to prepare the boats. Tell the band to play on.'

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  • Vinci Ho

    One of Danny Boyle's highly acclaimed films (except the Oscar winning Slumdog millionare) is 28 days later which is about post apocalypse with zombies crawling on earth.
    I suppose he could make a film called General Practice:180 days later..........may be we all turned into zombies anyway........

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  • I guess M.P.s only take an interest when it suits them, i.e. before a general election. People have been screaming from the sidelines for four years and have been totally ignored.

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  • As a GP who has just resigned as a partner aged 56 I had hoped that something would have materialised before my ex practice no longer became viable. The crisis is really hear and I doubt that much will happen in the immediate future. It will not happen before the general election and then the next administration will have other priorities. Too late for some.
    Sorry, but the current career is NOT great, and the plans being cooked up by those who have no understanding of how it should be do not look hopeful.

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  • Who will join a profession that will be replaced by algorithms and nursing assistants in the not too distant future ? It will be sorely missed when it has gone but current government policies are tantamount to constructive dismissal . It would be best ,continuing the Titanic analogy , to jump ship now before they take away the pension lifeboats.

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  • The tide turned a long time ago and we have been left high and dry.

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  • Nevertheless M Baker has written a stunning article in THEBMJ - unlike other mealy mouthed Chairs she has spoken the truth re the nonsense around 'resilience'. But - her 'confidence' in the tide turning is too premature. glossing over the number of early retirements, emigrations, huge number of unfllled GP placements doesn't help - she needs to reiterate them loud and clear until the situation does change. by then though yet another CGP chair will have taken over so there is never any overall responsibility from that organisation

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  • Don't celebrate the land seen at the end of a long sea crossing until you have landed and are sure it is a glorious island of plenty, rather than a barren atol whose only signs of life are the piles of bones left by the cannibals who regularly visit...

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  • Investment or lack of it is not the only major issue facing GPs today. Although a positive that underinvestment is beginning to be addressed GPs are deeply suspicious that the funding only be a short term boost. After the 2004 gms contract boost successive governments spent the next decade clawing all the extra money back.

    The major issue for me remains the system in which GPs are expected to operate. It's managed from the top by the DOH and any power that is stripped from GPs is usually given to the endless quangos, councils and other irrelevant organisiations. This is designed to blunt dissent and protest and push unpopular policy through. Rather like in party politics with the use of whips and last minute bribes during parliamentary votes. As long as we have a system where those at the coalface are vulnerable to being marginalised by weak leadership or institutions intent on building their power base and influence nothing will change!!!

    Will this extra investment release the strangle hold the DOH/ GMC/ CQC/ BMA / CCG have on a GP? Will extra investment leaf to independence , increased autonomy, less micromanagement???????? I for one very much doubt it and as a gesture of goodwill shall be planning my future abroad!! Thank you very much dr baker!!

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