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’.