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Care pathway meetings are a guilt trap

Care pathway meetings are a guilt trap

Columnist Dr Copperfield argues that care pathway meetings guilt trip GPs into thinking that they should put up with an ever increasing workload for patients’ sake

Flipping heck, to put it mildly! I have the answer!! I now know why we drag ourselves out of bed every morning to endure another session at what we’re contractually obliged to call ‘the coalface’!!!

Apparently, it’s the patients. We do it for them. It’s all because we care about them and want them to get the best service possible.

What? You knew?! Well, you’re ahead of me, then. I thought we did it for money, or status, or because our brains would melt if we spent our days watching daytime TV. But no: we do it all for our patients.

I know this now, because I’ve repeatedly had it rammed down my throat at various meetings I’ve been volunteered to attend. There are shedloads of these meetings happening currently because of the pressing need to colonically irrigate our impacted NHS. Hence meetings about referral pathways, avoiding admissions, ensuring fitness for ops, yada yada.

Every single one of them begins with a little homily from someone high up, strategic and inevitably not a GP, reminding all attendees that, ‘ultimately, what this is all about, is patient care’. This is followed by a predictable sequence of events, and I’ll provide a summary here:

  1. An equally emotive crie de coeur about how secondary care is buckling
  2. The implication that the solution lies with primary care doing a bit more to ‘help spread the load’
  3. That implication being made explicit via ‘an ask’ from secondary care
  4. Dissenting voices from primary care guilted into silence by looping back to the sanctimonious blurb about it being ‘all about patients, which is what we all want, right?’

So, trigger warning: if you’re in a meeting and the preamble involves a reminder of ‘why we’re all doing this in the first place’, you will experience unpleasant sensations that you’re about to be dumped on by secondary care, because you are.

The solution is obvious: leave the meeting immediately. After all, those patients this meeting is all about are outside, waiting to be seen.

Dr Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of his blogs here



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

Decorum Est 25 October, 2023 7:41 pm

Maybe I’m a cynic or psychopathic but the ‘guilt-tripping’ has been going on so long that it doesn’t bother me anymore (a bit like an itch).

Cameron Wilson 25 October, 2023 9:33 pm

Secondary Care isn’t buckling! It’s doing quite nicely, referrals in are getting nigh on impossible, problems are scarcely addressed, and a nice wait to boot. Covered of course by the small print caveat of “Contact your GP if you need!”
As always, Coppers, excellent and totally spot on!

Guy Wilkinson 26 October, 2023 2:40 pm

Bang on Tony.

When asked to do unfunded non contractual work always start from no.

I’m fully immunised against guilt trips.

David Jarvis 27 October, 2023 10:49 am

My reply to people saying something must be done is always “what are you going to do about it then?” Just as we should hand the patients problems back to them with a plan. But they go to the consultants or collect the prescription or do the exercises not you. I do love the modern phrase “It sounds like a you problem.”

Carpe Vinum 30 October, 2023 1:04 pm

And the latest knight on a white charger, of course, is “this would be ideally situated in the PCN” which seems to be overtaking the “this would be ideally situated in primary care” as the great panacea for all ills… sod the fact that the PCN and primary care is buckling under the strain and the PCN is a loose framework of generally very proactive well-meaning types trying to fit a lake of need into a milk bottle of capacity.
Very rarely do you hear “what we need now is a government with a social conscience, and specifically a health minister who actually knows his/her arse form his/her elbow.” Oh, and a flotilla of porcine aeronauts, obvs

Truth Finder 30 October, 2023 5:25 pm

Spot on! The cure is to charge people to use the NHS (amount to be debated) but it won’t be implemented. They have plenty of money for smokes, alcohol and cannabis.