All PCN clinical staff must do mandatory refresher training for ‘shared decision-making’ conversations, which GPs have told Pulse is a ‘waste of time’.
The training, to ensure staff are totally involving patients in all aspects of their care, must be completed online by the end of next month.
It was announced as part of the ‘personalised care’ service specification for this year’s primary care network DES.
But GPs said that this contributes to the ‘overwhelming’ mandatory training that GPs are currently carrying out.
As part of the DES, networks have to fulfil a number of service specifications, which this year includes CVD prevention and diagnosis, anticipatory care, tackling neighbourhood inequalities and personalised care.
For the personalised care service, PCN contract documents said: ‘By 30 September 2022, a PCN must ensure all clinical staff complete the Personalised Care Institute’s 30-min e-learning refresher training for Shared Decision Making (SDM) conversations, available here.’
The aim of the training is to make sure that GPs are totally involving patients in all aspects of their care.
But Hertfordshire GP partner Dr Mike Smith told Pulse: ‘It’s such a waste of time. It’s one of those things that looks good on paper, that NHSE is making patients feel listened to. But actually, it’s all gestures. There are bigger priorities that PCNs need to deal with.’
Dr Smith said when he saw the flyer for the training, ‘my eyes rolled so far into the back of my head I thought I was going to pass out’.
He added: ‘We can’t do this until the teams are in place. We haven’t got these community PCN teams in place for doing this.’
East London GP Dr Claire Davies told Pulse: ‘It’s just really annoying. We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of mandatory training we have to do.
‘Some things, like safeguarding, I believe are really worthwhile. But we’re already struggling with our workload. It’s just another thing to do. We’re in danger of being taken over by mandatory training.’
And chair of grassroots organisation GP Survival Dr John Hughes told Pulse: ‘Shared decision-making and patient involvement in decisions about their care has been a core component of GP training for at least the past 30 years, and it is both irritating and insulting to GPs to add a compulsory 30-minute mandatory training module on this.’
‘An additional concern is the increased time required in consultations if all are required to be fully compliant with shared care decision-making – a Cochrane Review suggested doing so added 7.5% to consultation length based on extrapolation from the methods used, but there are no actual pilots to look at the real impact on time which may be greater, and at a time of increasing demand for consultations and appointment pressures, is it wise to force such policy on an already stressed profession?’
He added: ‘Furthermore, the “evidence” quoted for the introduction of this mandatory training and associated performance measures is based on various studies by CQC and patient organisations in which 40% of patients expressed a desire to be more involved in the decision making around their care.
‘This was across primary and secondary care, and I strongly suspect there is more of an issue in secondary care settings.’
Manchester GP Dr Haider Ali said that ‘most doctors know how to deal with these things’.
He told Pulse: ‘Half the job has become social care, if not more, and ticking boxes.’
Meanwhile, all new doctors will be required to complete mandatory women’s health training from 2024, under the Government’s first-ever Women’s Health strategy.
And MPs last week said GPs need mandatory menopause training and targeted communications around the HRT scheme.