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RCGP chair: ‘Blatant bigotry’ against general practice in medical schools

Medical schools must stop their ‘blatant bigotry’ against general practice which is putting potential GP trainees off the profession, the chair of the RCGP has said.

Professor Maureen Baker said medical schools were guilty of ‘rank discrimination’, with continuous examples of tutors bad-mouthing general practice, and called on their leaders to take action to prevent it happening.

Source: Maureen Baker

Speaking at the RCGP’s annual conference in Glasgow, Professor Baker said: ’We need to tackle the rank discrimination that is displayed against general practice in some medical schools.’

She continued: ’It should be unbelievable but barely a week goes by where I don’t hear about yet another example of a medical tutor at some medical school or another saying something outrageous about general practice, like, ”the bad news is that 40% of you will be GPs” or that ”general practice deals with a parade of trivia and is a second class form of medicine”.

’This blatant bigotry against general practice has to stop. We should have a zero tolerance policy towards such shocking outdated and antiquated attitudes.’

Professor Baker added that the college was ’now working with the medical schools council to tackle this unfairness’ and she called upon ’every individual medical school to take action on your own patch’.

The RCGP chair said it was critical to make general practice more attractive to trainees as well as existing GPs - and that the Government’s drive for seven-day working was ’a recipe for disaster’ that will ’make it virtually impossible to recruit and retain GPs, in direct contradiction to the Government’s stated aim of increasing the GP workforce by 5,000 by 2020’.

And she said the college remained ’very concerned about the possibility of GP trainees being financially disadvantaged as part of the ongoing discussions about the junior doctors’ contract’.

Professor Baker said: ’I’ve written to Jeremy Hunt twice on this issue to call on the Government to clarify that GP trainees will not lose out - particularly given the impact this would have on recruitment. And the college has also launched a petition which so far in just over a week has garnered more than 4,000 signatures.

’We must continue to value and support young doctors as the future of general practice and of medicine in the 21st Century.’

Readers' comments (21)

  • I wish GP was about seeing loads of trivia. It would make the job far more enjoyable. Unfortunately it's not the case. Now it's about having the ability to fill out lots of forms, attend numerous meetings and constant reflection and understanding " referral pathways"

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  • Need to recruit less people into medicine from arrogant backgrounds. Starting from the top down. Restrict the number of private schoolies to the proportion of the population that they represent.

    Need to do the same for the government. A pipe dream I guess.

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  • This is a complete fallacy.
    When I decided to join GP training in the mid 00s GP was a good place to work and the word spread to trainees, many of whom changed career path.
    Now it is getting worse trainees realise this.
    Do the RCGP really think potential GP trainees are idiots? That would be bigotry.

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  • The fact that the RCGP is doing nothing to publicly fight back against NHSE propaganda and the destruction of our profession, loss of income, being dumped on by all of society (being expected to do all the extra work for free), GANFYD, complete lack of any job satisfaction, the GPC/RCGP running around agreeing with everything JH decides to throw at us however destructive, exam farce, membership fees that are outrageous, indemnity over £10k pa for full-time GP etc, etc…. Maybe Medical Schools may have a point after all?

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  • RCGP is a farce organisation.it will be foolish for new medical students to join General Practice.RCGP is only concerned about their survival.Do you think being a GP is better than a specialist.GP with special interests is self explanatory!!!
    I have spoken to gpwsi who enjoy doing their chosen specialty than being a GP.

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  • It seems quite obvious to me that this government wants all jobs in the NHS to be unpleasant. Junior doctors are having a tough time as well as our consultant colleagues. It is just as unpleasant for nurses, paramedics and yes for management as well. Don't forget that they are trying to do their job with greatly reduced numbers.

    So why is the government doing this? Well it is obvious that they do not wish to spend any more money on healthcare and this is not surprisingly as we do not generate any GDP. In fact the longer we keep people alive post working age the more it costs the country. Elsewhere it has been stated that by making a public service fall apart it is a precursor to privatisation. Well this certainly has been the case with other public services, but none of those services have been provided free at the point of use, like the NHS. I suppose that making the NHS fall apart and delivering poor outcomes could be a precursor to charging patients for healthcare. All workers could be blamed for poor output and requiring the needs of private management to improve productivity. Certainly it would be important for GPs to lose their independent contractual stasis. That appears to be working well with the increased retirement of older GPs and the formation of Federations that could be easily sold off.

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  • nope - it's honesty

    i was told it was hard work but rewarding re: continuity and relationships developed over time. it was always a low paid part of the NHS. the advantages were autonomy and flexibility. fast forward to now pay is up (but decreasing), there is less autonomy and more bureaucracy and a change in the patients' attitudes - basically we are viewed as service providers and nothing more. blaming medical schools on the RCGP failures is not on.

    how about doing something about the flawed MRCGP exam when so many existing doctors want to be GP?

    how about doing something about the excellent foreign GPs eg from Newzealand who want to work in the UK but are given no support by the RCGP?

    i do not blame the medical schools - the GPC and RCGP are to blame.

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  • Dr Baker,you can't make turd smell like a rose.Thank goodness med students are staying away from general practice.

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  • Maureen, the medical student tutors are only telling the truth. Your belief that general practice is wonderful is bordering on delusional and is a very large part of the problem.
    If one of my children was training to be a doctor ( thankfully all three have more sense!), I would tell them to avoid GP like the plague and work hard so that they had other options.


    Full Definition of BIGOT. : a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

    I do not see them treating GPs with hatred or intolerance, they are saying that the JOB , not the people doing it is intolerable. They are right.

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  • GP is about doing sick notes for patients who don't need them.

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