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GPs sent a new guideline every 48 hours

GPs are being deluged with a ‘tsunami’ of unfocused and often irrelevant guidance, and on average receive a new guideline every 48 hours, according to an analysis by medical defence experts.

The Medical Protection Society found that GPs were issued with 15 sets of guidelines in October, including guidance from CQC inspectors on ‘equality and human rights’, three separate directives on revalidation and a Health Protection Agency document on the ‘management of public health risks from fish pedicures’.

Some of the guidelines exceeded 100 pages, while the majority were more than 30 pages in length.

Dr Stephanie Bown, director of policy and communications at the MPS, said: ‘The tsunami of unfocussed guidelines and protocols received each month is undermining their value.’

‘It is absolutely right that a doctor keeps abreast of new and emerging developments in their field of practice, but to expect a high level of awareness of everything is impractical and unnecessarily burdensome.

Dr Adam Pringle, a GP in Telford, Shropshire, said: ‘GPs receive a hundredweight of post a year and a sea of “urgent” email – most of which is of no relevance and the rest of which is often not immediately relevant.’

‘Before a guideline is inflicted on general practice it should first pass a panel of “wise men” – normal GPs with no specialist interest who should judge whether the guidance is realistic and practical for everyday use.’