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Calls for primary care director to resign as GPs deal with F2F letter fallout


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GPs are calling for the resignation of NHS England’s medical director for primary care amid the furore created by its latest guidance.

In a letter to practices last week, NHS England said GP patients must now be offered face-to-face appointments if that is their preference.

It later confirmed to Pulse that GP practices must give face-to-face appointments to patients who request them unless they are deemed to be an infection risk.

But GPs responding to NHS England’s new guidance branded it ‘tone deaf’ and ‘badly judged’.

Mid Mersey LMC medical secretary Dr Ivan Camphor told Pulse that local GPs have ‘approached’ him asking him to call for those who signed the letter to resign.

He said: ‘There’s a very strong feeling amongst all GPs of being let down by the letter from Dr Nikki Kanani and Ed Waller.

‘In certain quarters there is a very strong voice for a call for them to resign with immediate effect because general practice has never been shut. To say that general practice now needs to open is really a slap in the face.’

Dr Camphor, who serves as a regional rep on the BMA’s GP Committee, said there will be ‘a lot of debate’ about the letter at a GPC meeting scheduled for Thursday this week.

It comes as grassroots organisation GP Survival – which represents 8,600 GP members in the UK – has today launched a petition calling for Dr Kanini to ‘resign or be removed from her post’.

The petition has so far gained 255 signatures from frustrated GPs.

In an open letter, GP Survival said its committee has ‘no confidence’ in Dr Kanani’s leadership following the ‘inflammatory and insulting’ guidance sent to practices.

The letter said: ‘Deliberately or not, it implies support to the false accusations in the press that GPs have not been providing face-to-face care throughout the pandemic. 

‘It is insulting in the extreme to [the] memory [of practice staff lost to Covid] to be told by a fellow GP that we must see patients face-to-face when there is ample evidence that we, as a profession, never stopped.’

It added: ‘We urge Dr Kanani to take the honourable course of action.’

Meanwhile, some GPs today reported a ‘whole different level’ of abuse from patients following NHS England’s letter and its coverage in the media.

Dr Adam Janjua, NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG chair, took to Twitter to express frustration that ‘thanks to the SOP and the media coverage it’s apparently ok to abuse us lazy GPs’.

He told Pulse: ‘Patients are being more aggressive with reception staff, especially with issues surrounding Covid symptoms.

‘We used to be a profession with high public trust – rightly so. But since the gradual assassination via the mainstream media started at the start of the pandemic, I feel that the patients and public trust us less because of the stuff they’ve read or heard generally in the media.’

He added: ‘I’m used to a bit of pushback from patients, but this is a whole different level and putting trainees off the profession.’

 And Nottingham GP partner Dr Hussain Gandhi  said a patient insisted on a service his practice does not provide because ‘the papers say you have to see me and I want you to do it’.

NHS England was approached for comment.

LMCs and the BMA have both advised practices that the letter had ‘no contractual force’ and should be regarded as guidance only by practices.

Additional reporting by Eleanor Philpotts

READERS' COMMENTS [18]

Douglas Callow 17 May, 2021 6:09 pm

very poor knne jerk cave in to Torygraph and Mail populism
Politicians might choose to do this but those delivering Healthcare should not
It remains the position for practices to determine how best to manage and deliver services and the best arrangements for appointments, based on expert knowledge of local community.
No amount of media bluster should seek to undermine or remove Practices contractual freedom
Primary care has worked beyond capacity and met the demands of spiralling workload pressures perhaps unwisely when contacts per day exceed what’s safe
NK and EW must know that this intervention will damage our ability to deliver safe services and compromises relationships and trust with no winners

Tj Motown 17 May, 2021 6:25 pm

They’ll just find another puppet?

Patrufini Duffy 17 May, 2021 6:27 pm

Ed Waller – how you escape your photograph on Pulse and ownership of your equal contractual threats and SOPs I do not know – just your copy and pasted generic signature to burn out the nations primary care system. Abhorrent. The profession is being “led” down a rabbit hole. By NHSE puppets without their own practice or seniority, needing a quiet dismissal and reality check out of the clouds of MBEs and OBEs and glamorous podiums. For the past year and more, almost actively and architecturally winding senior professionals up for the sake of their portfolio ego, fame and narcisstic Twitter posts. Empty and hollow. And carefully distanced from their colleagues. Behind an intangible smokescreen, and sterile thankyous. That type of medical student that you would not want on your side, because they’d sabotage your work.

John Graham Munro 17 May, 2021 6:55 pm

GIVE NIKKI A BREAK——–SHE HASN’T GOT HER PEERAGE YET

Concerned GP 17 May, 2021 7:15 pm

Hahaha!! John is spot on!! It’s all about politics and “what’s in it for me”. But I doubt either NK or EW will do the honourable thing and resign – they don’t care what ordinary GPs think. Their actions and words show utter contempt for us.

Patrufini Duffy 17 May, 2021 11:03 pm

***Where’s Arvind Madan?

As NK was his prodigy. He slagged you off you remember, then ran away. Now you’re getting another categorical swipe. Well, he escaped, creaming his dollar at the mega provider Hurley Group and is creating interesting money from “eConsult” as it’s co-founder. You read right: still making your life misery, seeding it everywhere. Can’t make this up if you tried!

John Glasspool 18 May, 2021 8:06 am

No one’s going to resign. I mean, would you in a nice little sinecure involving no F2F contact yourself?

Robert Caudwell 18 May, 2021 10:18 am

The honourable thing would be to resign, but then again the honourable thing would have been to not stab your colleagues in the back at the behest of your masters, so I’m not holding my breath.

Vaqas Rashid 18 May, 2021 11:20 am

We are playing into the divide and conquer narrative. What we need to do is unite across boundaries and push back…too many egos at play here…if not say goodbye to the NHS…
Grassroots GP’s need to sit down with pts and leaders and publicise and push back against government cuts

Concerned GP 18 May, 2021 11:42 am

With respect I think it’s very unfair to say ordinary frontline GPs are playing at anything. We have been too busy working. It’s the so called leadership who are pandering to the media and playing politics. And yes there are egos involved – namely those at the “top”. I feel that these sorts of sentiments are clearly made to stifle debate and discussion. Those who signed the letter last week clearly knew what they were signing and the reaction this would provoke and the consequences for their fellow colleagues. To imply otherwise is disingenuous at the very least.

David jenkins 18 May, 2021 1:15 pm

John Glasspool

you’re quite right !

two questions for anyone who still can’t grasp it:

1 – how much is NK paid for spouting this tripe ?

2 – if you were paid this much, for sitting in a chair not seeing patients, would YOU resign ?

no ? – but then, like me, you would probably rather be proper doctors, rather than trying to generate your own self importance !

luckily i live and work in locumland, in wales, so i don’t have to listen to the silly drivel she spouts !

Vinci Ho 18 May, 2021 3:54 pm

Yawn !
I lost sense of time about when I first condemned her to resignation on this platform .
Reality , the letter was a means to test the temperature of the water . She is always there ready to be sacrificed as far as NHSE/I is concerned . If it can impose what it wanted on us in the eventual SOP , it is no big deal to NHSE/I to get rid of just a primary care head.
Whether you deserve any sympathy or not , Nikki , you should know your fate working for Ministry of Plenty from day one …..👿😈😑

Shahed Tahir 18 May, 2021 5:15 pm

As long as she gets her face on TV hob knobbing with royalty and politicians she will continue.

David Miranda 19 May, 2021 5:37 pm

Marshall is not blameless. Long before this furore he was advising that remote working was unsustainable because of the risk of missing soft signs. Now he seems to have gone back on this in the face of the anger from coal face GPs.

Marie Williams 20 May, 2021 10:03 am

This is not new behaviour by Nikki she already exhibited this type behaviour during the role out of the vaccines. She is in the mould of most NHSE primary care leaders promising one thing and leaving GPs with an entirely different proposition. A Yes person climbing the greasy pole to a gong and a good pension whilst affecting the persona of GP leader whilst not having little contact with the stressful environment of General Practice . Thanks Nikki I’m advising our Practice manager to forward all complaints about access to you.

David jenkins 20 May, 2021 12:44 pm

those who can, do

those who can’t, tell those who can what to do !

in over 40 years i’ve lost count of the people “running the show” who wouldn’t last five minutes if left on their own without all their minders etc to protect them !

Nina Toth 20 May, 2021 2:26 pm

Honourable and integrity. Not 2 terms that should go in the same sentence with NKs’ name

Concerned GP 21 May, 2021 4:52 pm

I read the blog piece and NK tweets yesterday and naively thought there might be some reflections and regret over what has happened in the last week. But sadly nothing close to that. It’s interesting that those at the top at NHSE appear to have no insight whatsoever into the damage they are doing to the profession. I would ask NK and other GP colleagues in similar “top” positions “are you a GP first or a politician?” because their attitude and behaviour very much mirrors that of politicians who tend to never say sorry when they make a mistake and hardly ever resign these days. One word – hubris. Do they really understand the fact that within a week some patients have become much, much more aggressive in their interactions with GP teams and have been quoting the letter from last week as their “right” to a face to face consultation whenever they want. Medicine is not about consumerism but that is how NHSE is approaching this problem and it’s an utter disaster.