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Bah humbug – The Pulse annual awards

The RCGP ‘Fiasco of the Year’ Award



Winner The RCGP for the Julia Hartley-Brewer fiasco

The RCGP annual conference organisers are pondering who to invite to give an outsider’s perspective on general practice on their Q&A panel. A campaigning patient whose work has benefited GPs and the general public? An overseas health expert with fresh ideas on where the NHS can improve? Nope, the college invited a Talk Radio host who rants about Brexit all the time because she’s ‘a mainstream broadcaster, who regularly discusses health issues on her show, and is the daughter of an NHS GP’.

The college withdrew its invite to Julia Hartley-Brewer after a number of GPs threatened to end their membership. Members said the invitation was ‘an insult’ to NHS international doctors, citing her tweet on Enoch Powell’s ‘rivers of blood’ speech in which JH-B said ‘I’m not defending Powell, I just don’t see anything in the speech that he got wrong’.

At least press offices don’t have to deal with such horror shows more than once a year at most. Unless of course…


RUNNER-UP RCGP for the Sultan of Brunei fiasco

…it’s the RCGP press office.

When Brunei introduced laws making gay sex punishable by death by stoning, GPs rightly urged the RCGP to rescind the honorary title given to the Sultan in 2013. It was then pointed out that the RCGP received a significant donation from the Sultan in 2013, and named an auditorium after him. The Pulse online comments section pulled no punches.


The Rebekah Vardy ‘Careful Who Your Friends Are’ Award

Winner Dominic Cummings

Much like NHS IT systems, Dominic Cummings has faced issues with his connections. The PM’s senior aide came under recent fire for his consultancy work advising digital GP provider Babylon. Babylon insisted it was only 10 days’ work on its comms strategy and it was before he worked in Government. They added that Dom was involved in their recruitment process for a couple of days in September last year. Our lawyers have told us to emphasise there is nothing fishy in this whatsoever.




The Capita ‘What’s Capita Done This Time’ Award

Winner Capita

Tiger Woods got bored of winning golf trophies, Usain Bolt tired of accumulating gold medals and Manchester City seem to be weary of winning football’s Premier League. Put another way, maintaining standards year after year is tough.

So hats off to Capita, whose ability to cock things up remains unrivalled. Last year, it failed to send 47,000 cervical cancer screening letters. For many, that level of incompetence is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Yet true champions never rest. So this year, Capita managed to wrongly archive 160,000 patient records.

So impressed were we that we posted them a special golden envelope. Unfortunately, it got mixed up with the patient records Capita were supposed to deliver, and is now in a car park outside Hemel Hempstead station.


The ‘Put the IT in Tits Up’ Award

Winner Matt Hancock

What do Matt Hancock and practice IT have in common? They are both behind 70% of GPs’ daily frustrations.

Matt is pulling out all the stops to improve IT. And where better to showcase your passion for virtual consultations than via video link with the RCGP conference. Sadly for our ‘appy health secretary, there was one problem with his video link – it failed, with GPs left none the wiser about what he was saying.

Of course, tech does have flaws – but one app will never let you down. If you want to know about maple trees planted in Suffolk or a skatepark in Newmarket, join the other Fancocks on the Matt Hancock App, which will never fail in the middle of a conference of 2,000 GPs.




The ‘I Didn’t Go to Med School for This’ Award

Winner Woodland Trust

A patient prescribed bathing by their GP might well take offence. But a charity has suggested GPs actually prescribe ‘forest bathing’ on the NHS.

The Japanese tradition of shinrin-yoku involves practising mindfulness in nature and the Woodland Trust recently said social prescribing of forest bathing could help patients with stress and low mood.

Is this just another gimmick that will vanish without trace? Do bears defecate in the forest (while your patients bathe)?


The ‘Kim Philby Espionage’ Award

Winner Dr Hendrick Beerstecher

In these turbulent political times, a bit of spying can be essential for a healthy society. Step forward comrade Hendrick Beerstecher.

The Sittingbourne GP was suspended for two months after clandestinely filming CQC inspections and posting them online.

His footage was X-rated, after the inspectors found such abominations as curtains, carpets and – gulp – soft toys. Monstrous.


The ‘Antediluvian Arsehole’ Award

Winner Jacob Rees-Mogg for comparing no-deal Brexit medical expert with disgraced anti-vax doctor

The period antics of the Commons leader suggest he has genetic immunity to public shame. And never as much as when he likened no-deal Brexit whistleblower Dr David Nicholl to Dr Andrew Wakefield, whose anti-MMR rhetoric fuelled the discredited autism link.

Dr Nicholl broadcast a threat to sue the Honorable Member for Victorian Britain via loudspeaker outside Parliament. He also shamed him on Twitter – sadly it’ll be more than 100 years before social media is invented in the land of Rees-Mogg.