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Independents' Day

RCGP faces struggle for GPs' backing

The RCGP faces a battle to win the confidence of all GPs over its role in a new system of recertification, a former chair of the college has admitted.

Professor Mike Pringle, who was chair from 1998 to 2001, said engaging around 20,000 GPs who are non-members would be a 'challenge'.

He said: 'Bringing them in and winning their confidence will be something that the college will have to rise to.'

Sir Liam Donaldson, chief medical officer, has put the RCGP at the centre of deciding how recertification will work, insisting that GPs must be 'members or affiliates'.

He has also left it to the RCGP to decide whether a knowledge test should form part of recertification.

Dr Philip Fielding, a GP in Cheltenham and an RCGP member, said the college would find it difficult to balance being 'the supporter of educational activities and also the policeman of the profession'.

He added: 'On the positive side, it allows the profession to maintain peer review but I think it's going to be a terrible challenge – it's a high risk strategy.'

Dr Tom Frewin, a GP in Bristol, said the RCGP was the wrong organisation to check GP performance.

He said: 'They don't speak for the profession and they think they do. They are living in cloud cuckoo land.

'If you are an academic college, you should be raising academic standards, not being a hatchet guy.'

The RCGP's role in recertification

• Set a 'clear and unambiguous set of standards'

• Assess GPs against those standards

• All GPs must become

members or affiliates

• Help assess suitability of using prescribing, practice profiling and other data for assuring GPs' performance

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