It was depressing to read Phil Peverley’s comments on the level to which GP training has descended over the last decade.
I was a GP trainer for 15 years, but bowed out at the start of summative assessment, which I could see was going to develop into the leviathan Dr Peverley describes in his very critical assessment.
It was a difficult decision as I had always been proud to be a trainer, had very much enjoyed training in the early years – and indeed, my last trainee gained the trainee of the year award.
Unfortunately, the RCGP has complicated the training process to the extent that many excellent trainers must be thinking hard about remaining in post. Even more concerning is the college’s influence in the appraisal process, to which we all have to subscribe whether we like it or not.
From a supportive and helpful chat with a local colleague a few years ago, the process is now a major hurdle – with audits, case histories, 360-degree appraisals and ‘reflection’ on clinical meetings with evidence that the learning process has been carried through to the surgery.
It can only be a matter of time before this entire cacophony has to be submitted compulsorily as an electronic maelstrom. Thank goodness I can still submit on paper – I told former chair Professor Steve Field to his face that over my dead body would I submit in electronic format.
I consider it high time that both trainers and the profession as a whole draw a line in the sand and tell the college to back off, to give us freedom in the training and appraisal processes to develop in our own ways with less didactic policing of the system and to stop making our lives a torment. A happy GP will be of far greater benefit to his patients than a frustrated, miserable practitioner.
From Dr Ian James