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At the heart of general practice since 1960

RCGP chief hits out at GP bashing

By Gareth Iacobucci

GP bashing and 'assumptions of incompetence' must stop to enable the profession to move forward, according to the chair of the RCGP.

Delivering the keynote address to delegates at the RCGP conference in Edinburgh, Professor Mayur Lakhani said he was angry at the way GPs were being portrayed, and said he wanted to see the Government placing general practice at the centre of the NHS.

'I'm angry at the negative perception of GPs and the assumptions of incompetence,' he said. 'GP bashing is wrong and must stop. We would like to see a new narrative from policy makers.'

He also accused officials of wanting a 'Martini health service,' that delivered 'any time, any place, and any GP', which he said 'ignores the importance of registered lists.'

He outlined his desire to see all health problems dealt with in primary care, and said practices should be focus on 'clinical excellence' by working together in federated models.

Despite stressing the importance of offering 'basic generalist care', Professor Lakhani said GPs should play their part in a more integrated healthcare service.

'Patients need generalism, specialism and good service. The relationship shouldn't be a battle.'

He urged GPs to take a more active position in areas such as childcare, and said the aim should always be to move beyond providing the minimum standard.

'Too many GPs want nothing to do with child protection, but it's our duty to look after children as part of basic generalist care.'

He praised the QOF is system as a means of raising standards, but said GPs should try and look beyond financial incentives for improving care. 'It's a contract and a payment. Professionalism shouldn't be defined by QOF.'

Despite acknowledging the political uncertainty and the need for better engagement with patients, he said GPs had every reason to be optimistic about the future of the profession, and urged them to help drive the agenda of change.

'We all want change, citizens, policymakers and GPs. We need to improve the co-ordination of care, and standing still is not an option,' he said. 'I'm impatient, and don't want it to take years. We need to accelerate change at this very important time.'

Professor Lakhani: angry at the negative perception of GPs Professor Lakhani: angry at the negative perception of GPs

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