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Minister blames 'counsel of despair' GPs for poor training uptake

A junior health minister has told MPs that pessimistic GPs are partly to blame for the recruitment issues facing the profession.

Speaking at a House of Commons Library Debate on GP retention and recruitment, health minister Steve Brine said there is 'little wonder' that medical students don't want to follow GPs into the profession as they have become 'a counsel of despair'.

He added that 'positivity is very important' to attract new recruits, citing RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard as a 'a brilliant example of the cup being half full'.

His comments come after workforce numbers continue to decline with the latest official figures revealing that 219 full-time equivalent GPs left the profession between September and December last year.

Mr Brine told MPs: ‘There are things that we can do but I would also say that there are things that the profession can do too and if doctors in general practice are a counsel of despair then little wonder that people don’t want to follow them into it.’

He added: 'I think there are some really good positive voices in general practice, ably led by Helen Stokes-Lampard, who is a brilliant example of the cup being half full. That kind of positivity is important so it is a partnership.'

Mr Brine's comments come after Professor Stokes-Lampard previously advised GPs not to 'vent on your juniors', adding that 'it’s destructive and unhelpful'.

Readers' comments (49)

  • And how many front line sessions does HSL do again the full 9.5 sessions I doubt it very much.Easy to do if you dont do ful time hence an increase in portfolio GPs.The Juniors experience GP land and decide for themselves.If you wan to make the job more attractive improve the T&Cs.Nice to be a MP and award your self a pay rise,and have an excessively generous holiday and pension package, add to that expenses tax free,get drunk on subsidize alcohon in the palace of westminster and either stagger home to your subisdize London apartment,or go to you office to 'look' at the internet while you lock the door.The GPs full time job is absolute S@@@E in comparson.

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  • And this is what those in charge really think, that we want to talk down a job that we have given our professional life to? How’s about it looks, feels and smells like shite, sufficiently so that it actually is. That Lady Double-Barrelled in her ivory tower thinks it all lovely is patronising and irrelevant. We will all be gone soon.

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  • So those at the top blames us again for their fault. That is why GPs are leaving. It is the poor investment, pay cuts and over burdensome regulation and to top it all manslaughter charges. I wonder if he can tell us what is there to be cheerful about. GPs are not a cup half empty. We can see when it is empty and when it is totally full. No half measures and expecting top standards and results which is what is happening now.

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  • God....pass the vomit bag

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  • Medical students and junior doctors are intelligent people.....why should we pretend that GP is a glorious career when it plainly isn't. Until the politicians and organisations like RCGP take some real and decisive actions to change this situation (don't hold your breath) then nothing will change. Modern GP is a job to be endured rather than enjoyed.

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  • The currency of politicians is that truth is what you can make people believe. It is the essence of their selection process and mandate.
    That they extrapolate their world view to other professions should not be surprising.

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  • Maverick

    "This is going to hurt".
    Secret diaries of a junior doctor
    By Adam Kay.
    Essential reading for those currently practising in the NHS and those considering offering themselves up for sacrifice. Please ask your children to read this before applying to medical school.....

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  • Maverick

    https://www.gov.uk/government/people/steve-brine
    This man has not earned the right to comment...

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  • Tantalus

    Typical politician.
    Advocates lying
    So as to boost numbers by deceiving junior doctors

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  • Maverick

    Food for thought......

    "You will never know the value of something until it becomes a memory"
    Dr Seuss

    Mistakes are proof that you are trying.....
    Stephen H

    "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men,..."
    Jeremy H

    Look out for number one. If you don't, no one else will...

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