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GP leaders convene crisis summit to defend GPs against media attacks



Exclusive The RCGP and GPC will meet for a crisis summit next week to form a joint response to weeks of negative press against the GP profession, Pulse has learnt.

Following accusations from the health secretary that inaccessible GPs were responsible for the current pressures on A&E departments, the college and GPC will discuss how they can better champion the profession, and communicate the workload pressures GPs are under.

The meeting has been scheduled in to fall after the LMCs Conference in London tomorrow and Friday, for which an emergency motion on Jeremy Hunt’s comments on GP out-of-hours responsibility will be discussed.

The meeting comes as after both the RCGP and GPC went on TV and radio to defend GPs from media attacks that accussed GPs of not knowing patient’s names.

RCGP chair Professor Gerada told Pulse the meeting with the GPC aimed to ensure a more sustainable NHS, with GPs at its heart.

She said: ‘We will talk about what is going on with the crisis in general practice, and how we support our members on both sides.

‘Number one, to champion what they are doing and number two, to try and ensure that we have a sustainable NHS where the Government invests more resources into primary care.’

‘We will meet in order to see what we can do to take things forward. The most important thing is to understand the value of general practice, the value of generalism. I think we are very concerned that we are constantly under attack.’

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said it was an ‘opportune time’ following the LMCs Conference to discuss together with the RCGP how they could jointly respond to what has been happening over the last few weeks.

He said: ‘I think that we again need to state the obvious, which is that the NHS depends on GPs, that GPs are valued and appreciated by their patients – the patient survey consistently demonstrates that – and we need to talk again about the key role that GPs play in individual health, within local populations and going back to the essentials of general practice, which is being jeopardised by the Government.

‘It is a whole range of different factors but it would certainly help if the Government would applaud GPs rather than blaming them. If they showed that they valued the work that GPs are doing and recognised the workload that GPs are under. They have directed the focus on the pressures on A&E but actually the pressure on general practice is probably greater.

On the social networking site Twitter, Pulse editor Steve Nowottny has began a hash tag #gpknowsmyname that has been used by many patients to show support for their GPs.