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Independents' Day

GMC backs calls for GPs to be included on specialist register

The GMC will back a move to include GPs in a single advanced specialist register.

The RCGP and BMA launched a campaign last year for general practice to be counted as a medical specialty, and merge the two separate GMC lists for GPs and hospital doctors.

GP leaders say the move will allow GPs to work freely in other European countries, and would increase the standing of general practice and stop GPs from ’being second class citizens’ in medicine.

Charlie Massey, GMC chief executive and registrar said that the body would back the proposal.

Massey said: ‘The BMA and the RCGP have argued that a single advanced register for both specialists and GPs would make the entire medical register more helpful and informative for patients, employers and doctors.

’Expanding the specialist register to include general practice would require UK Parliament to update the Medical Act and the decision to make such a change rests with the four UK governments. We have told the BMA and the RCGP that we would positively consider a request from all four to explore and develop this proposal further.’

The merger of the two registers could become part of wider reforms to the regulation of UK health care professionals expected to be consulted on in the near future by the Department of Health.

The UK is one of only four states in Europe, alongside Austria, Switzerland and Italy, who do not recognise general practice as a ‘specialty’.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC chair, said: ’This is an important recognition by the GMC of the central place and importance of GPs to the NHS and follows strong pressure to do so from both the BMA and RCGPs.

’Placing GPs on the specialist register would make their expertise clearer and put them on a deserved equal footing with other specialists, such as hospital consultants. This is the right step at a time when GPs are working harder than ever before, delivering more care to patients who are living with increasingly complex problems. This difficult job is being carried out despite the incredible pressure on general practice from rising workload and contracting budgets.

’The Government should now follow the GMC’s lead and listen to the case made by the BMA by amending the Medical Act so that GPs get the recognition they deserve.’


Readers' comments (7)

  • Not sure it's going to help with recruitment or retention. You can polish a turd.....

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  • What complete and utter bullsh~t.If we look at the medical disciplines, acquisition of MRCP(UK), which is no mean feat in itself, allows one to become a specialist registrar which is the beginning of specialist training.This typically lasts 5 years before one is allowed to refer to oneself as a fully fledged specialist. A GP registrar these days is lucky to have had a 6 month stint in each of medicine, O+G, psychiatry and paediatrics (after full GMC registration) before leaving hospital training, spends one year as a registrar and obtains MRCGP during this year (an exam with actors, no less)and then is let loose as an unsupervised practitioner. In my opinion there is a clear gulf in the level of experience gained and time served between the GP and the Consultant -ologist and the result is superficial medicine. It is a denigration of the term specialist.
    Moreover, massaging the egos of GPs will not change the reality of how shitty the job has become.

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  • I agree about ego. I don't need some comforting exercise to make me feel better. I know my own worth and frankly GPC should be focusing it's energy else where. Unless it's trying to do government's dirty work by distracting GPs of course (how is that gong looking on your mantle Chaanand?)

    p.s. I completely diagree with the above poster. My knowledge, skills and patient management is on par with my consultant colleagues. The focus is different (wide and shallow with community centered focus) but that doesn't make me inferior.

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  • Pointless bodies doing pointless work. How many GPs really think this is important??
    Have resigned from both and this does not make me want to start paying subscriptions again.

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  • doctordog.

    A specialist generalist. Mmmm, need to think about that.

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  • Smoke and mirrors,this will not make a difference to my working life,systemic underfunding with increasing beaurocracy is a a is making it untenable though.

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  • GPs are specialists:there is no doubt.This profession has been devalued by colleagues and the Government.We are at the grass root level providing the solid base for the whole health system. GPs should be classified as specialists.
    NHS should encourage private practice.If patients can afford to have private or work insurance, depending on their income,then they should be paying privately via insurance.
    If the income is below certain amount, then they should be covered by NHS.

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