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Letter of the week: Our splintered profession cannot be led

Having attended the LMC Secretaries’ Conference last month and heard the discussion, I think it important to put it in context (‘Buckman scotches commissioning boycott “rumours’). 

The GPC was in the usual negotiations with NHS bodies – it is purely the Government’s bully-boy ultimatum of ‘we are imposing a contract again, come and choose how you will be hurt’ that they declined. It was said experienced civil servants were personally embarrassed and dismayed at the political hardening of what had been productive negotiations until that point. 

We have an unspoken difficulty, in that the profession has never been more divided. There are those with an ideological opposition to market forces who seek to derail clinical commissioning on principle, while there are simultaneously ‘GP-preneurs’, with multiple medical and pharmacy contracts who earn the kind of figure the Daily Mail bandies about as the GP norm. 

Add profit-sharing partner vs salaried GP vs sessional performer tensions relating to finances, education and revalidation, and the reality of leadership becomes clear. 

You can only lead people in the general direction that those following wish to go in. 

We are currently a divided profession and are unable to give a unifying mandate of support to our leaders.

I defy anyone without messianic personal attributes to be an effective leader of this riven profession.

This is the time to build common purpose in the GP grassroots and reflect upon the core values of our profession. 

Only if we can agree an agenda that we all agree to follow will our leaders be effective. 

Dr Andrew Mimnagh, Chair, Sefton LMC via