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Gold, incentives and meh

General practice's problem with 'non-mainstream' careers

Letter from Dr Andrew Curphey, Prison GP, HMP Manchester

Dr Ryan astutely observes that male GPs working 'part time' to pursue roles within CCGs, the RCGP or BMA are worthy leaders whereas a perception exists that part time female GPs pursue less valid roles and are less worthy. I wonder, however, whether or not it is a wider problem of attitude, lacking an inclusive outlook, which the profession has towards any GP who has a vaguely 'non-mainstream' career or interest.

I often under the impression that GPs who work to pursue other interests, clinical, non-clinical or even non-medical, are regarded with suspicion by anyone who solely works within the more usual spheres of general practice, CCGs, RCGP or BMA. Unless you are an overtly 'college man' or trying to thrust on within the BMA, I find that other roles are not that well understood or what qualities they may bring to the 'mainstream' (a term I use with caution) that well accepted.

There are plenty of examples to choose from such as work for charities, work within the Reserve Armed Forces, and the setting of small businesses (medical and non-medical). It has taken far too long for sessional GPs to be recognised has having equal value and even then it was out of absolute necessity. It’s taken long enough for the concept of leadership to be truly recognised by GPs or the medical profession as a whole.

My pragmatic view of equality and inclusion is that we must include and use all available views and talent to be worthy GPs for our patients. We serve the widest group after all. The medical profession as a whole can be quite poor at shifting stance although I am overall optimistic that it is becoming more flexible and adaptable to change.

In an overall worthy first blog Dr Ryan sadly shoots herself in the foot, however. She states that GPs must 'grow a pair' in the fight for general practice. Surely her point is 'a pair' of genitalia (I assume she refers to these) is not a pre-requisite to be a worthy GP?

 COI: Prison GP, Member of HM Reserve Armed Forces, MRCGP, BMA Member


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Readers' comments (2)

  • Thank you Dr Curphey.

    we must get away from second rate or third rate as a concept. it is not helpful in terms of how to provide primary care to the population. all doctor's are first rate, either that or they are not practicing full stop. they are all hence deserving of respect. Having variety within the team is critical. understanding that we also live in a society and being able to support armed services by taking on those that defend the country is noble and is an honour.

    The difficulty is that practices are increasingly based around people that are focussing more on their other roles as opposed to seeing patients. Our practice team values continuity. we do prefer doctors that are willing to commit to 8 sessions versus those that are at 6 or 4.

    The doctors on these forums that talk of the advantages of being portfolio do not seem to also relay the disadvantage of this as a method and especially newly qualified GP's need to understand this as they begin to shape their careers.

    Ultimately though I do feel that this is a lifestyle choice. being full time in general practice in 2016 in England has its own joys and pitfalls.

    we must not let the debate become superficial and there is no reason for us to lose respect for one another.

    - anonymous salaried!

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  • Do people look down on those that do other things. I have always thought people that manage to have 2 completely different careers are a cut abovce me with just one.
    One doc I know is also a dentist and a pilot. Pretty cool.

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