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Gerada: the GP profession has become ‘helpless’

GPs should be lobbying against the Friends and Family Test, NHS Choices, and ‘nasty’ inspection and regulation processes that undermine their clinical professionalism, former RCGP chair Professor Claire Gerada has said.

Speaking as part of the opening debate asking ‘Is general practice sustainable in its current form?’at the Pulse Live conference in London today, Professor Gerada lamented that the profession had become so ‘helpless’ and called for doctors to take action.

During a question and answer session, Cambridge GP Dr Fiona Cornish asked whether GPs should relinquish some of their gatekeeper roles to reduce their workload.

Fellow Pulse Live panel member Dr Peter Swinyard replied that GPs practice in fear of negative patient reviews being used against them in CQC inspections if they deny a patient a referral or test.

In answer to Dr Swinyard, Professor Gerada said: ‘So lobby for the abolition of the Friends and Family Test. Why have we become so helpless? Get rid of the Friends and Family Test, get rid of NHS Choices, insist the CQC have a compassionate inspection process, lobby the GMC to stop their nasty systems and treat doctors as they wish we’d treat patients.

‘That’s what we should be doing, I don’t understand… the real question is why have we become so helpless?’

When challenged as to why the RCGP wasn’t lobbying on the profession’s behalf, Professor Gerada said it was LMCs’ responsibility.

Professor Gerada added that despite the need for change, general practice was a better place to work than the rest of the NHS.

She said: ‘The NHS is a toxic place, the NHS is toxic at the moment… general practice, even though it’s awful at the moment, is far better than working in a hospital.

‘And the real secret we all hold on to, is actually it is a lot better than working on the other side of the NHS.’