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GPC deputy chair told to ‘see a doctor’ after voicing GP safety concerns

GPC deputy chair told to ‘see a doctor’ after voicing GP safety concerns

A BMA GP Committee executive officer has been told to ‘see a doctor’ after he voiced ‘negative’ safety concerns about overworked GPs, it has been reported.

Local newspaper The Lincolnite yesterday reported that a councillor made the comments towards GPC England deputy chair Dr Kieran Sharrock, who is also the medical director for Lincolnshire LMC.

Dr Sharrock told Lincolnshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee that GPs in the county were overstretched and facing ‘mental torture’ and burnout, according to the paper.

He said: ‘It’s estimated that it’s safe for doctors to deal with 25 to 35 clinical decisions in a day and are regularly doing significantly more than that.

‘I sometimes do 80 to 90 clinical decisions within a day and I do wonder at what point do I start making bad decisions and cutting corners and risking patients?’

He added: ‘It also risks my wellbeing because if I make a mistake that ends in a complaint, it ends in mental torture for me and my colleagues and it also means I’m more likely to burn out and leave the profession earlier.’

But councillor Colin Matthews told Dr Sharrock he should ‘go and see a doctor’, saying he was ‘tinged with negativity’.

He said: ‘I think you need to go and see a doctor because the negativity you are putting forward suggests you may not be a well person at the moment.

‘I’m not being flippant, but your whole presentation has been tinged with negativity.’

According to the report, Dr Sharrock called for local councillors to lobby the Government to fund the workforce properly and help counter anti-GP sentiment.

But The Lincolnite said that while councillors had some sympathy, they were heavily critical of the service local GPs were providing.

It said councillors:

  • Said residents not being able to get through to practices is the biggest complaint they faced;
  • Accused receptionists of being ‘gatekeepers’ and striving to prevent patients from getting appointments;
  • Criticised a lack of face-to-face appointments and some surgeries opening two or three days a week.

The paper added that Lincolnshire CCG chief operating officer Sarah Jane-Mills told councillors GP services are ‘safe’ and ‘good’.

She said: ‘The CQC and ourselves have got a very close relationship with all of our GP practices and where we have concerns we are proactively working with them.’

It comes as the latest edition of the official GP Worklife Survey has painted a dire picture of the realities of working as a GP in England, revealing that over a third may likely quit direct patient care within five years.

And official data has shown that the number of fully-qualified, full-time equivalent (FTE) GPs in England is continuing to drop, with the BMA saying that its warning calls are being ‘systematically ignored’.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Patrufini Duffy 14 April, 2022 1:56 pm

Go see a doctor. Good advice.
We will all write you off sick for 1 year.
Actually, let’s write everyone off. The profession that never goes off sick due to stigma, systemic guilt, harrassment and vilification. Patients can go to the local politicians “office” where apparently they run drop in clinics for advice on their housing, how to burp their newborn, the break up advice over their boyfriend and need for a stair rail and commode.

Turn out The Lights 14 April, 2022 5:26 pm

Gp land in rural lincs has been negative for a long time.The councillor is a tory any typical of a politician believe the propaganda spouted by sympathetic press.All close to collapse it it has not already done but we dont recognise it.The councillor definitely doesn’t.As they continue building more housing estates without funding local resources.Welcome to the UK gp land.They expect us to jump higher until there is no-one to jump anymore.

Iain Chalmers 14 April, 2022 8:19 pm

Know Dr Sharrock, fortunately don’t know Councillor Matthews but not a million miles away. Happy to enlighten him if he has “balls” to show his face.

Semi retired after 36 years in NHS but still 5 GP sessions a week, working at our local Hospice 16 out of next 19 days, also Cancer Care Lead for 2 CCG’s

Utter t*****r isn’t worthy enough to describe such a human being

Adam Crowther 14 April, 2022 8:52 pm

Not a too dissimilar experience with our HOSC in a neighbouring county. Now ICSs have formed HOSCs should disappear and appropriately recruited council reps will get an idea of the pressures that all of health is facing let alone general practice and hopefully the petty disgruntled with life in general nobody gaslighting individuals will no longer have any damaging influence.

David Church 15 April, 2022 4:11 am

From the news report, it was the Councillors expressing very negative criticisms about the GPs!
I would suspect a Councillor with such poor appreciation and understanding of the topic is not fit to serve on that committee.
I also suspect that he had forgotten that, whilst allowed to insult elected Councillors, he had breached the code of conduct by hos comments and the Ombudsman should be invited to investigate.

Mark Howson 15 April, 2022 11:04 am

It reflects the fact that people blame the NHS and the doctors for the failings of the service. I now always tell patients the reason they are getting a reduced service is because of 12 years of Tory under funding and any complaints should directed to them and I hope they didn’t vote for this. This is why the wait in A&E is so long, why the ambulance service is on its knees and it is a year to see a hospital doctor. GPs are providing a remarkable service given the funding.

Darren Tymens 16 April, 2022 9:04 am

We are not going to change things by just asking nicely and hoping they take sympathy on us.
The narrative – that the problem is that we are lazy, workshy and overpaid – is too strongly embedded and too comfortable for them to continue to believe and to spout. it doesn’t matter that is untrue – we are now in the era of post-truth, post-morality politics.
The only thing that matters is the ability to say ‘no’, or walk away from a situation.
The ability to say ‘no’ is now being severely curtailed by PCNs and ICS/national plans for a salaried service. LMCs will continue to fight on, but with diminishing power.
If BMA would set limits on what can reasonably be expected to be delivered under the current funding, we (and the NHS) might survive. Without doing this we will continue to be an ‘all you can eat’ buffet and work and blame will be piled on us until we collapse.
The only other option is the ability to walk away. BMA needs to prepare Plan B for general practice: how to switch to a private, subscriber-based and properly funded service as an alternative to a collapsing NHS model. Just seeing this being developed might be enough to shock NHSE/DOH/MPs into action. I know some people think this is playing into the government’s hands, but what is the option? Collapse is coming either way, and at least this will enable some continuation of a service and of a profession.

Slobber Dog 17 April, 2022 8:15 am

All descriptions of the NHS and its services are ‘ tinged with negativity’.

Long Gone 19 April, 2022 8:56 am

Calling into question a persons mental health simply because they are responsibly sounding an alarm about the parlours state of General Practice, brought about by successive governments from left and right. Sounds like censorship to me.

Nick Mann 19 April, 2022 1:35 pm

Colin Matthews is clearly ignorant of his brief and has libellously defamed a medical professional.
I for one would be happy to contribute to Kieran’s crowdfunder, should he want to sue.
Fwiw, our local JHOSC members are excellent; informed, diligent, receptive individuals.

Sam Rodgers 19 April, 2022 5:00 pm

Looks like conflict resolution is the councilor’s strong point…