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At the heart of general practice since 1960

The slow creep of mandatory training

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I’m writing this covertly during my mandatory safeguarding training, which takes me to a level of safeguarding competence I’m not quite clear on, on account of not paying attention.

There are only so many hours in the day. But that doesn’t seem to have occurred to bodies like the CQC. Apparently, our favourite regulator’s latest Bright Idea is to decree that spirometry certification is ‘best practice’. This gives an afterburner-like boost to the drive to make spirometry accreditation mandatory for GPs and practice nurses – the implication being uncertified practices will receive the CQC’s quizzically raised eyebrow of doom.

Fabulous. Another bunch of boxes to tick, another half-day out of the practice, another certificate to download. And this is but the tip of a much bigger iceberg of mandatory training – an iceberg that has only just hoved into view and which we recently asked our practice manager to explore on account of us feeling dizzy and nauseous regarding a) the amount of mandatory training we know about already, b) the amount we’re only dimly aware of, and c) the amount we don’t know about but which has the potential to sink general practice.

If her findings are right, and I’ve every reason to fear they are, they make chilling reading. Our annual training requirements are: anaphylaxis, basic life support, fire (?), information governance awareness, infection control awareness and infection control level 2 (??). Every two years, there’s training in manual handling (???) and every three, chaperone refresher, CQC cleaning schedules (????), dementia awareness, equality and diversity, health and safety awareness (?????), record keeping and, yes, safeguarding. And that’s just the mandatory ones. The ‘recommended’ list also includes appraisee training, oxygen training and the Mental Capacity Act.

I’m going to describe this, with no apology, as a complete f**king joke, and that’s not because I missed my mandatory language sensitivity training, it’s because it f**king is.

The obvious criticism is that this is an unnecessary, time-consuming, patronising, distracting, irritating, uncoordinated, corrosive arse-ache, all of which is true. Plus the slow creep of mandatory training into clinical areas like spirometry does prompt the inevitable suspicion that soon they’ll want documented, peer-reviewed and annually refreshed evidence that we can interpret a full blood count, appreciate which end of a speculum to use, know how to wash our hands after defecation etc.

But my real concern is this obsession with mandatory training implies the regulators truly don’t understand general practice, or that they disregard our training, experience, expertise and professionalism. Or both. Don’t they know we’ve spent years and much taxpayers’ money being trained and certified for everything? It’s who GPs are and what GPs do, and to insist on rubberstamping every component is either ignorant or insulting.

Anyway, you’ll have to sod off now, its time to download my advanced safeguarding certificate.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield

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Readers' comments (19)

  • Hi Tony,

    I watched 3 hours of Three Girls on catch up and reflected within my appraisal documents.

    Better than any formal training I have attended and you can do it with a beverage of uour choice!

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  • I don't think you have grasped a particular nuance of this. Mandatory Training in say Hand Washing divests the organisation against any future responsibility if you get sued for some infection control matter...they say but DrX completed and signed this mandatory training module

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  • Shaba Nabi @ 8:31 that is genius thanks and I have to say it genuinely has given me a lot to reflect on regarding safeguarding

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  • Monty at 09.53 makes a good point but if the levels of mandatory training continue to grow we won't have any time to see patients.

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  • If management want us to comply with all this 'mandatory' training, then they should pay for our time at a professional rate. Its the worst of FATPOAs.

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  • What would NICE say about safeguarding? They see to cost a life at about £30,000, How much does all the mandatory child protection training etc etc cost per life saved?

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  • After our last mandatory safeguarding training, I succeeded in getting the trainer drunk. At which point he told me (and I quote) "Safeguarding has nothing to do with the prevention of harm to individuals and everything to do with the prevention of blame to institutions." Suddenly every aspect of all mandatory training became clear.

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  • what monty said

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  • Some GPs really need a mandatory certificate to prove they can make a proper cup of tea! Ps I leaned how be reflective in my e-portfolio by learning from Carrie, from sex in the City!

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  • Click "next, next, next, next........" as fast as possible, then do the quiz (as many goes as you need), bingo, 1 hour CPD for 10 minutes meaningless clicking. 4 hours of this drivel in 1 evening scores 20 hours CPD,
    Meaningless learning for a meaningless appraisal, another box ticked and another year closer to retirement.
    21st Century General Practice, ain't it great??

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From: Copperfield

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex with more than a few chips on his shoulder