The chair of the RCGP has claimed the ‘tide is turning’ on the underinvestment in general practice, and now is the ‘best time in a generation to become a GP’ in a Q&A session with Pulse readers.
During the live session on pulsetoday.co.uk, Dr Maureen Baker defended the video made by the college aimed at encouraging graduates to join general practice from accusations that it was ‘boring’.
She said that the college has been ‘really successful’ in making the case for extra investment in general practice, and politicians and the NHS are committed to building a new deal.
It comes as MPs are set to debate a motion on the pressures facing general practice this week, following a petition by the RCGP.
During the Q&A session, Dr Baker responded to a question from Dr David Coleman, a GP in Doncaster, who asked: ‘How does the RCGP plan to bridge the gap between the present and this much hyped golden future, which itself seems to be entirely based a promise of future investment made in the run up to a general election?’
Dr Baker answered: ‘Recent years in general practice have been really tough – the greatest pressure in all my 30 years in general practice. But we feel we have been really successful in making the case for greater investment in general practice and that this has been heard, both by politicians and by the NHS (thus the commitment to building the new deal).
‘So I feel confident that the tide is turning and that now is the best time in a generation to become a GP, in terms of the employment opportunities and the investment that will be coming into general practice.’
Dr Shabi Nabi, a Pulse blogger and a GP in Bristol, asked Dr Baker about why the video produced by the RCGP was ‘so boring’, adding: ‘How is picking up scripts from reception going to entice young people? Why didn’t you show GPs working on cruise ships, the Antarctic, being involved with education, doing endoscopies etc? These are all the things that make the career so great as it is versatile.’
Dr Baker responded: ‘Actually we had lots of very positive feedback from this and over 10.000 views. If we had loads of money and time, no doubt we could have produced a mini-masterpiece (perhaps Danny Boyle will be free…) but I think the team did a pretty good job with the tiny resource and the time available.
‘The career is great – or can be – and what really came across to me was the passion and sincerity of all those involved in producing this.’
Meanwhile, MPs will debate and vote on the pressures facing GPs on Thursday in response to a petition from the RCGP.
A cross-party group is sponsoring a motion calling on health secretary Jeremy Hunt to secure the financial future of general practice urgently.
Over 300,000 people have signed the petition, which calls for the drop in NHS funding to be reversed.
The RCGP is writing to all English MPs urging them to attend and calling on members to write to their local MP through the College’s website.
Dr Baker said: ‘This is further evidence that we are getting our message across.
‘But we are yet to see these promises converted into tangible resources to relieve the immense pressure on GPs and enable them to provide high quality care to our patients.’