I am livid, is probably the best way of describing it. I am sick and tired of hearing this rubbish, and from a former professor of our Royal College I would have expected better. I am extremely disappointed, because the tone of the press release in my view was not appropriate. It was disproportionate and it was inflammatory.
I am angry to see general practice portrayed this way in the media when we are talking about a small handful of practices which are struggling. Obviously, if they are not providing acceptable standards of care that is something that needs to be addressed – but in many cases PCTs have known about issues for years and done nothing about it.
Also, there are often different, and complex, reasons why practices are struggling. Often they have had no investment in their premises, year on year. There has been defunding of general practice and the playing field isn’t level.
Set against this, I am not at all surprised that there are isolated incidences [of unacceptable standards] but to have this smeared across the press that general practice is failing, and that patients are at risk, is completely disproportionate.
It is disgraceful, and not the way this organisation should be going about its business. It is completely unacceptable to set this tone.
It is also unnecessary and not in the best interest of our patients. These issues concern a very small number [of practices] and – let’s face it – this is scaremongering and completely inappropriate.
Professor Steve Field could have taken this opportunity to defend general practice, and to explain why many of us are struggling to cope with increased demand from an ever more complex ageing population with ever-flailing resources.
As you can imagine, the GPC negotiating team is not impressed [and] this will not go unchallenged.
Dr Beth McCarron-Nash is a GPC negotiator and a GP in Cornwall