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Medical graduates left ‘frightened’ to tell trainers they want to become GPs

Junior doctors are ‘frightened’ of telling trainers in secondary care that they are considering a career in general practice because they don’t want to be excluded from secondary care procedures or clinics, the chair-elect of RCGP Wales has claimed.

Speaking from the floor at the Urgent Health UK 2015 conference, Dr Rebecca Payne called on commissioners to do something about the lack of respect shown to the profession, warning that she had been told that future GPs were being prevented from carrying out procedures. 

NHS England head of primary care Dr David Geddes said that there was a ’stigma’ in medical schools around future GPs.

It came in a session given by Dr Geddes on NHS England’s commissioning strategy for primary care, during which delegates said the picture of general practice being presented in the Five Year Forward View and plans for tackling GP workforce issues ‘didn’t match reality’

Dr Payne – who becomes chair of RCGP Wales later this month – said that GPs were ‘denigrated’.

She said: ‘When I’m at work, no one can disrespect me because of my race, my sexuality, my gender or my religion. But I can be disrespected and denigrated because I’m a GP.’

She added: ‘Junior doctors tell me that, on the wards, they’re frightened to tell people that they want to be GPs because then they don’t get the opportunities to carry out procedures or go to clinics.’

In response, Dr Geddes said that this was unacceptable. 

He said: ’The feeling among GP registrars, that they’re embarrassed to say they’re a GP registrar, that’s absolutely what Health Education England, the RCGP and NHS England want to stamp out.

‘That is prejudice and it’s certainly not where we want to go, because we need far more GPs than we need more consultants. So let’s get more secondary care people working in community.’

 Dr Geddes said he was aware of general practice being shown a lack of respect in medical schools.

He told delegates the issue had previously been raised by RCGP England chair Dr Maureen Baker, who met medical schools to discuss the ‘toxic anti GP culture’ in universities.

Dr Geddes added: ‘Maureen Baker was saying there are still difficulties with many medical schools saying “you want to be going into this kind of area of medicine, you want to go into acute care. Some of you won’t be able to make it and might go into general practice.”

‘It’s that stigma that still exists in some medical schools that I’m aware of.’