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Professor Steve Field must take responsibility for his actions

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I have made a note to myself to never accept a professorial position (although it’s not as if that would ever happen – the nearest I have got to research is counting up my referrals for the purposes of appraisal). Something clearly happens to a few doctors who have reached these dizzy heights – it’s as if the air is so rarefied up there that they lose some of their cognitive skills.

Almost exactly this time last year we had good old Professor Meirion Thomas, who considered himself some kind of whistleblower, protecting the public from those greedy, incompetent GPs.

He gave us all a lesson in professionalism and how to treat colleagues, and he did it in great Jeremy Kyle style by having a centre spread in the gutter press. In spite of me reporting him to the GMC (and getting nowhere), a part of me still felt his ignorance was understandable because even other doctors do not understand the work of GPs, let alone the general public and politicians.

So when an actual GP comes out with the same sweeping statements about our incompetence and tells the world he is ashamed to be a GP, it is far less easy to be forgiving.

And this is not any old GP like you or I. This is the ex-chair of the RCGP and now a chief Inspector of the CQC. And to top it all, he did it whilst rolling around in the dirty sheets of the Daily Mail.

With power and influence, comes responsibility. You cannot be a figurehead for something without being accountable to it. I, myself, learnt this recently after my blog on a 10-point action plan was published in Pulse. In it, I listed a number of ways for GPs to revolt without taking industrial action and one of them was to stop engaging with appraisal and revalidation.

As an appraiser, I was called up for this by my appraisal team and had a rap on the knuckles from my responsible officer – and rightly so. I accept that if I do something like this again, I am likely to be dismissed.

This is why Professor Steve Field must be expelled as chief inspector of the CQC and the RCGP need to seriously reflect on his fellowship status as I don’t think many of us believe he is a member in good standing. A public apology to GPs must come as an absolute minimum.

If you agree with this, please sign my petition here for this to be actioned.

Dr Shaba Nabi is a GP trainer in Bristol

 

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Readers' comments (18)

  • Spot on Shaba. I was very disappointed and quite frankly shocked, to see him proclaim his shame for us! He used to be the Royal college chair! Utterly betrayed. When 85% of practices come out of the other side of inspections as good or outstanding it's completely unacceptable to brand all GPs as a profession in this way. He needs to think very carefully about the implications of what he's said, how it will affect the morale of workforce currently burning out and what he's going to do about it now. Furthermore, Jeremy Hunt praising him for his 'courageous' words comes as no surprise either, he is already someone that the profession has completely lost confidence on. This happened a long time ago! Remember the 200k+ petition..

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  • He was widely quoted out of context and I think that Pulse have been responsible for some of the witch hunting going on. I don't know him, and have no vested interest here, by the way.
    Most of us are doing a fantastic job, with many constraints, but there are some truly dreadful GPs and practices out there - I was shocked by my conversation with a relative's GP recently. And I could quite see how this type of comment could be made against a few really dreadful individuals and practices.
    Calling for Steve Field's resignation appears to me to be like trolling over comments taken out of context, and I am personally ashamed to count myself amongst the GP readership here if that's what everyone else is doing.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Totally accept the arguments that he could have been quoted out of context and there are bad apples in our profession , like any others.But he must also know as the head of an official regulatory organisation , he has public authority and power . His exact words can potentially influence different sectors of the society . There is no place for impartiality ,sensationalism and he cannot give people the impression of standing near to any media which represents the Fourth Power.
    If you remember what I said last year, he owes the public an official press conference to explain all CQC findings on GP practice inspection . He should answer questions from all the media about what is the majority and minority of general practice. (Said the same in Liverpool LMC monthly meeting and was recorded in the minutes).

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  • Vinci Ho

    Never expect his resignation:
    (1) He was appointed by the government , not elected by people
    (2) It is the government, including the PM and health secretary , which was elected by people . Representative democracy in our parliamentary politics.
    (3) With the health secretary openly supported and praised the head of CQC, the dissatisfaction of a democratic representation will simply make me cast one more ,on top of the 220,000 ,vote of no confidence on Mr Hunt and this government in handling NHS.

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  • Vinci Ho

    As far as the Fourth Estate(or Power) is concerned , while it is a double edge sword and clearly with the invention of Internet , credibility also changes accordingly , found this interesting piece from Wikipedia:
    Yochai Benkler, author of the 2006 book The Wealth of Networks, described the "Networked Fourth Estate" in a May 2011 paper published in the Harvard Civil Liberties Review.[13] His explains the growth of non-traditional journalistic media on the Internet and how it affects the traditional press using Wikileaks as an example. When Benkler was asked to testify in the United States vs. PFC Bradley E. Manning trial, in his statement to the morning 10 July 2013 session of the trial he described the Networked Fourth Estate as the set of practices, organizing models, and technologies that are associated with the free press and provide a public check on the branches of government.[14][15]:28–29 It differs from the traditional press and the traditional fourth estate in that it has a diverse set of actors instead of a small number of major presses. These actors include small for-profit media organizations, non-profit media organizations, academic centers, and distributed networks of individuals participating in the media process with the larger traditional organizations.

    Nigel, my sincere hope Pulse will always be vigilant and self-examining in its position as the Fourth Power(may be the 'new' Fourth Power)

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  • Vinci Ho

    Wealth of Networks
    Next book to read.......

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  • This is a witch hunt by Pulse, he was taken out of context.

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  • What he said was that SOME GPs and practices make him ashamed to be a GP. Even the most hardened politicians wouldn't have predicted the venom that came out of The Pulse and its readers. This however does highlight the massive anger felt by most of us. Let's focus this anger onto the likes of Hunt and his cronies rather than on our own.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Mmmm
    ' Get a decent salary from the emperor, bear all the worries for the emperor' , a Chinese saying.
    Blind obedience is such a invaluable quality to the emperor(regime).

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  • Please push off Shaba.all you ever do is make negative comments stirring up trouble. most of us are carrying on with a job we love and despite calls for resignation - predictable - Steve Field sees more practices than you and does know what he is talking about.

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