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The waiting game

It's too easy to poke fun at the RCGP

Dr Samir Dawlatly



Sometimes I think the Royal College of General Practitioners exists as a metaphorical punchbag. They provide a barn door-sized target to anyone wishing to aim a banjo at, while often shooting themselves in their two left feet. Enough has been said about sponsored lecture theatres bought with a Companionship, whatever that is. Existing College members are pledging to quit funding the mortgage of Euston Square if a right-wing journalist is given the opportunity to vent her spleen, if she knows where that is, at the next annual conference.

It is all too easy to poke fun, undermine and satirise the College. Normally I can’t really be that bothered with what it does. I am not a member, they have no direct influence on my contractual obligations and I do not feel I need them to help me ’foster and maintain the highest possible standards’. My fear of the CQC and own innate perfectionism does that. And I am not encouraged by their toolkits, guidance and publications.

The only possible impact that they might have on me is on their ability, or not, to produce new GPs that will feel able to have a career in general practice and perhaps even become partners. Though whether the training can be blamed for the state of general practice is another argument.

Theirs is not a ten-year plan. It’s better, it goes up to 11

It seems that the College have been visioning, future-casting and laying out their wish list for general practice in the UK. Theirs is not a ten-year plan. It’s better, it goes up to 11. Perhaps the only major difference between ’Fit for Future’ and the NHS long-term plan is that the College is giving themselves an extra year to achieve working at scale; community hubs; interoperability; genomics; social prescribing; multidisciplinary team working and more prevention than you can throw a speculum at.

For those of you who can’t quite get to the end of the 53-page document, they also want to shift so much work from GPs that we’ll be able to routinely offer 15 minute appointments, also made possible by the delivery of thousands of new GPs who will arrive on unicorns, and an improvement in working conditions that convinces GPs not to retire or immigrate. Things WILL be better in 2030, simply because the College have said so.

There is barely a hint of an idea of how this nirvana is going to be achieved, apart from a few case studies of places that tried something that worked or was predicted to work. But why would the College bother to work out how their vision would be fulfilled? They don’t have to, and can’t, make any of their dreams happen, so can promise what they like, because all they have conjured up is a vision, not a plan.

Dr Samir Dawlatly is a GP partner in Birmingham

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Readers' comments (9)

  • Cobblers

    Right Collection of Gormless Plonkers.


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  • To be fair to the RCGP, their rumoured new workshop of ‘Make Your Own Unicorn and Magic Pixie’ is a brilliant idea. The proposed course fee is only £364.57 + Vat (for members) and you get a comprehensive workbook and a sufficiency of superglue and brushes (bring your own donkey, purple paint, carrot/dildo, bonobo and glitter).

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  • Is it a vision or a delusion????? With the recent comments from Nikita Kanani one does wonder about the so-called 'Faculty of medical leadership and management.' if this is the kind of leadership they are producing. If anyone cares to have a look at their executive summary you can see how the RCGP is inspired.....

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  • The RCGP is the main factor responsible for the GP manpower crisis.
    If they let non VTS doctors work in GP practices as part of a team, and if they made it easier for trainees to transfer from other training programmes with credits for their experience, it would be a massive improvement on patients being seen by clueless Noctors, as they are in most parts of England - except of corse for training practices. they are all right jack aren’t they?

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  • The RCGP makes me feel sad. I want to support them and over the years have held a lot of respect for some of the key leaders.

    There is a bad smell given off from the RCGP. The money they extract from trainees' seems greedy. The support to GPs and Trainers seems lacking and soulless. There focus seems to be political and self serving.

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  • My Real Concern's Getting Prestige ?

    Achieving growth in numbers is easy - drop the standards, and keep dropping them until the pool is overflowing with floating matter.
    Don't EVER tell the trainees - as we have previously been advised - how bad things are. Keep them happy at all times - short days, limited on call, reduced admin, lots and lots of learning time. Any problems or concerns, wheel in the bleeding hearts and dribbling mammaries from the regional office with a "concern has been raised" face, tell those bad trainers how insensitive they are and - horror of all horror - how the trainee felt "unsupported"/ Then when they finish ( let's not say graduate, that implies a step up ), express surprise but understanding when they want all of the above plus late starts, early finishes, learning time for every course going, time to reflect between patients and compassionate leave for zumba, long weekends and Waitrose shopping. Do all of that and your statistics will be overflowing - like a drain.

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  • FY2s are mostly enthusiastic and engaged. A few years of training later and the ST3s that have not left medicine are planning to emigrate, go on endless maternity leave, have a "portfolio career" and generally do as little work in GP as possible. The Training is not working.

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  • You are mistaken in saying of the RCGP "they have no direct influence on my contractual obligations".
    They have a significant adverse effect, and I wish they would go away and stop interfering with them.

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  • If I was designing the NHS from scratch I wouldn't have GPs -would you?

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