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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.

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 We should have a zero tolerance policy towards such shocking outdated and antiquated attitudes.’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.’