Bah humbug, it's the Pulse annual awards
Our gongs for the people who have tried to make general practice great again
The Katie Hopkins Troll of the Year Award
Winner: Dr Arvind Madan
The winner of this and many other theoretical awards in any review of the year in general practice.
Dr Madan was head of primary care at NHS England, until he was forced to resign when it transpired he’d been posting comments on the Pulse website under the pseudonym ‘Devil’s Advocate’.
Among other things, Dr Madan said GPs should be ‘pleased’ when small practices close. His resignation statement said his intention had been to ‘provoke a more balanced discussion about contentious issues, acting as a devil’s advocate’. Which at least shows an element of self-awareness.
Runner-up: Andre Walker.
‘Edgy’ commentator Andre Walker (no, we’d never heard of him either) caused a bit of a Twitter storm after comparing all GPs with ‘trained monkeys’, and claiming GPs created the recruitment crisis to drive up their own pay.
Former RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada challenged Mr Walker to a job swap. But, as Mr Walker’s former job was writing for Steve Bannon at Breitbart, Professor Gerada might find the swap involves a lot more bile than her present role.
The Melting Icecap Award for Signs of Armageddon
Winner: Garlinge Surgery
Remember the boiling hot summer, the likes of which we’ve seldom seen? It was just after the freezing cold winter, the likes of which we’ve rarely seen. Well, it led to a three-day closure of the Garlinge Surgery in Kent, through no fault of its own. Perhaps it would help if health managers would support practices like Garlinge to stop relying on Portakabins – although it may be going too far to blame NHS England for impending climate catastrophe, however tempting it is.
Runner up: Rabid bats
In the run up to Halloween, Public Health England sent an alert to practices to inform them a dead rabid bat had been found in the south of England – the first reported of its kind.
The Kanye West Award for Self-Promotion
Winner: Steve Field
Do you know who you have to thank for all that delicious new funding you’re currently bathing in, like a human Scrooge McDuck? (What do you mean, ‘what funding’?) Professor Steve Field, the chief inspector of general practice, has been fighting tooth and nail to get more money for GPs.
Yes, ok, he might have falsely accused a practice of having maggots in a treatment room and branded practices unsafe with little more evidence than a bad TripAdvisor review. But, as the man himself puts it: ‘Could we demonstrate general practice is as good as I said it was when I chaired the [RCGP], so we could invest in primary care and in general practice? Together with you, we’ve done that.’ A real hero.
The Amstrad Emailer Award for Technology
Winner: Matt Hancock
Forget Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook – if you are serious about engaging millennials on social media, you need to get on the Matt Hancock App.
Fancocks, as the app users are known, are the first to know about the health secretary’s trips to Chalkstone and Haverhill, his new dog and his annual Christmas card design competition. Of course, his wholehearted endorsement of Babylon might have a few more implications for GPs, but it’s a lot less fun that his eponymous app.
The Annual Capita ‘What’s Capita Done This Time?’
Award Winner: Capita
Our perennial award winner has not disappointed in 2018. This year, it is an individual award to the ‘senior executive’ who realised Capita had failed to send out 47,000 letters about cervical cancer screening – but didn’t alert bosses for two months.
The senior executive has since left the company although it’s unclear whether the company has managed to send out their P45 yet.
The Arron Banks Award for Staying Within the Law
Just like the self-styled ‘bad boy of Brexit’ (lawyer note: correct at time of publication), the GMC has stayed completely within the law. The regulator emailed 40,000 doctors to say their personal data would be shared with researchers unless they specifically opted out. GPs asked if this was in line with data regulations, which say opt-out consent is no longer legal. The GMC says it was legal. So that’s all ok.
and finally… the GPs Are Best Placed Award
Winner: Horton General Hospital overview and scrutiny committee
A cherished award that honours those with the most ludicrous ideas for piling work on GPs. This committee suggested GPs are best placed to do C-sections. Yes, you read that right.
Board papers contained this proposal to reconfigure obstetrics services: ‘The staffing model at the Horton General Hospital would be specialist GPs (local GPs given extra training to perform caesarean sections).’ The CCG said the proposal was included ‘out of respect’ to those who suggested it. If someone suggested GPs jump off planes to provide medical assistance to skydivers, would they include that? Actually, let’s not give anyone any ideas…