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General practice’s problem with ‘non-mainstream’ careers

Dr Ryan astutely observes that male GPs working ‘part time’ to pursue roles within CCGs, the RCGP or BMA are worthy leaders whereas a perception exists that part time female GPs pursue less valid roles and are less worthy. I wonder, however, whether or not it is a wider problem of attitude, lacking an inclusive outlook, which the profession has towards any GP who has a vaguely ‘non-mainstream’ career or interest.

I often under the impression that GPs who work to pursue other interests, clinical, non-clinical or even non-medical, are regarded with suspicion by anyone who solely works within the more usual spheres of general practice, CCGs, RCGP or BMA. Unless you are an overtly ‘college man’ or trying to thrust on within the BMA, I find that other roles are not that well understood or what qualities they may bring to the ‘mainstream’ (a term I use with caution) that well accepted.

There are plenty of examples to choose from such as work for charities, work within the Reserve Armed Forces, and the setting of small businesses (medical and non-medical). It has taken far too long for sessional GPs to be recognised has having equal value and even then it was out of absolute necessity. It’s taken long enough for the concept of leadership to be truly recognised by GPs or the medical profession as a whole.

My pragmatic view of equality and inclusion is that we must include and use all available views and talent to be worthy GPs for our patients. We serve the widest group after all. The medical profession as a whole can be quite poor at shifting stance although I am overall optimistic that it is becoming more flexible and adaptable to change.

In an overall worthy first blog Dr Ryan sadly shoots herself in the foot, however. She states that GPs must ‘grow a pair’ in the fight for general practice. Surely her point is ‘a pair’ of genitalia (I assume she refers to these) is not a pre-requisite to be a worthy GP?

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 COI: Prison GP, Member of HM Reserve Armed Forces, MRCGP, BMA Member


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