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Letter of the week: We’re allowing core values to slip away



Reading Dr Phil Peverley’s article, ‘Ready for revalidation? I am…’ I’ve come to realise that the probity part of our lives is rice-paper thin.

The inference of target-driven incentives is that we see patients to tick a box to earn money. When a GP manages to achieve high numbers, it is seen as playing the game by some and as over-achieving by the target setters. So, the targets must be changed to be unachievable. The logical conclusion to QOF and revalidation is that we all fail.

If patients knew how different the job was to their expectations, their faith in us would be shattered.

So, are we covering up? Are we tolerating the political meddling to protect the patients? Are we hanging on to the belief in family/community-oriented general practice?

And are the commissioning evangelists a vanguard bringing in a privatised service?

If so, our profession is shot and our probity with it. A lot of us believe that the Health Act and its consequences will not benefit patients at all and personally provided healthcare will fail. Many suspect revalidation will not improve care – after all, it will only take one revalidated doctor to behave badly and the whole system will have to change again.

How many of us are recommending our job to our children or today’s medical students? How many would leave if we could? This is where we really let down ourselves and generations to come.

Once upon a time we were rewarded for being professionals. Now we are reaping the reward for allowing our professionalism to slip away.

From Dr Simon Ruffle, Twyford, Berkshire