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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)

  • Oh Get lost Steve. Blame yourself and your policies for despair. Obviously we are not going to congratulate your for the crap - paycuts,pension cut,increasing workload etc but will tell the truth only as per our professional ethos and regulation perfectly as per GMC guideline

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  • Lady Double-Barrel is trying to out-pollyanna her predecessor, Pollyanna

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  • So we agree we are in a receptacle 50% capacity situation. How about a top up? I would be happy to accept a
    £25,000 increased contribution to expenses much as MSPs voted themselves.

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  • 'Beatings will continue until morale improves'.

    The workforce crisis is entirely artificial and easily solvable: its about the terms and conditions, stupid!

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  • Brine by name and Brine by nature - rubs salt into our wounds
    (while Pollyanna II looks on and has a chuckle to herself).

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  • We have a duty of candor imposed on us by the GMC. It's crap being a GP these days (I've been one for 32 years). The junior doctors must be told the truth. We must not lie as the minister wants us to.

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  • Dear Steve, I for one absolutely LOVE getting up each day to be faced with 12 hours of incessant crap, rising fees, pension screwed over, litigation fear and no job satisfaction! Just love it.....Oops gentlemen’s relish all over my weeks of prepared appraisal documentation. Just so I can continue to be flogged! Told you I love the job.
    Just can’t understand why no one wants to be a GP?
    just a thought, if it was enjoyable, supported, safe and rewarding just maybe we would be singing a different tune and you wouldn’t need to try and blame / gag us?!

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  • ... just a thought folks... this whole article might be Pulses's annual April fools wind up!

    It's a sad state of affairs that the story is very plausible given that successive Governments don't really value primary care.

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  • Hear Hear ! Tantalus.

    and why does Mr Brine think Helen Stokes-Lampard is only half-full? what a strange comment to make!

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  • How on earth can this person comment they literally have no idea what they're talking about

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