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GPs go forth

We at the GMC understand the burden you are shouldering

Dame Clare Marx

None of us has experience of a pandemic like this. Dealing with coronavirus is the biggest challenge to face the NHS since it was founded. And it’s going to ask a lot of us all.

For those on the NHS frontline, the call is to step in, while the rest of society steps back.

The situation demands it. But let’s be in no doubt about what that will mean.

Doctors are leading the fight in a war with an enemy we don’t yet fully understand. As you race to respond, you will face being ill yourself, and juggling the care of loved ones.

The pressure will be immense.

There’s a reason our health service is held in such high regard. It’s the staff. It’s the skill, selflessness and resilience that you demonstrate to every patient, every day.

While this situation is without parallel in modern times, the values and behaviours required of our clinicians are well established.

The tenets of being a good doctor have not changed.

Responding to this pandemic will require us to do things differently. It will require us to be flexible. And it will require us to work right to the edge of our comfort zone, and in some cases beyond.

The tenets of being a good doctor have not changed - responding to this pandemic will require us to do things differently

You may be asked to work in unfamiliar circumstances or surroundings, or in clinical areas outside of your usual practice. Redeployment may become the norm.

You may, rightly, have questions about the implications of these changes.

I want every doctor to know that we, as your regulator, understand the burden you are shouldering. This is new territory for everyone.

I want to assure you that we recognise the implications of this unprecedented event, and that any concerns raised about your practice will take into account the extreme circumstances in which you are working.

We know you will make the care and safety of your patients your first concern.

And we want to support you to do the right thing. In this national emergency, that means taking a measured approach to varying standards as the situation demands. In the peak of this outbreak, that could include departing significantly from established procedures.

Above all, we need doctors to apply their professional judgement. We urge GP practices, hospitals, trusts and health boards to give clinicians the information, equipment and support they need to do this, to minimise risk to staff as well as patients.

The priority for the GMC now is to do everything in our power to ensure clinicians are able to deliver care to those who need it.

This testing time requires us to pull together. We’ve already contacted 15,000 doctors who left the register in the last three year and many more of you have been in touch wanting to help – thank you. People’s individual circumstances may result in it being medically contraindicated for them to undertake front line duties but they will be able to make a contribution by undertaking duties that support those with patient facing responsibilities.

Doctors who have been out of practice can still play a part in helping the health services. If you know of colleagues who may be wondering how best they can deploy their skills, please do share this link with them – all additional capacity is vital and will make a real difference.

The nature of being a doctor is to go above and beyond to deliver the care our patients require. But in this crisis situation, compassion, civility, and self-care will matter more than ever.

Please be kind to each other, and to yourselves. And may I, as both a doctor and a member of the public, thank you for all you do.

Dame Clare Marx is chair of the GMC

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Readers' comments (29)

  • 'Understand the burden' ..(pause while I laugh)....errr, NO

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  • There is something about the "About Us" of Council and Chief Executive and Senior Management team page, that seems quite monotonous.

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  • ItSaDoGsLiFe

    I bet General Haig gave a similar spiel to the frontline troops before the battle of the Somme.

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  • @ Cobblers
    I have only 2 words for the GMC.

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  • doctordog.

    Words, just words.

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  • Don't you agree that in this day and age,having an honour makes you so much less trustworthy to the average person, than plain Dr,Mr,Miss etc would.Funny old world is'nt it.

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  • “Forgiveness is the scent left by the violet on the heel of the boot that crushed it.” So I really should be gracious.
    But the case of Dr Baba Gawa casts a long shadow.
    And apologies for going ad hominem, but what does Dame Clare really know or understand about delivering care to ordinary people in sub-standard circumstances?
    Not much I’ll guess.

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  • *Dr Bowa Garba. Apologies.

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  • Surely your first priority is to yourself to stay safe and well so you can do the job and then to the patients, doing it as well as possible before the GMC throw you to the wolves.

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  • Please just keep quiet...... we are doctors in spite of the GMC...... you might believe your own impassioned pleas, but on the whole we are not interested what the GMC has to say these days..... you have lost the trust of the just please keep quiet and get on and see the patients like the rest of us and stop self promoting yourselves....,

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