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GP marketing campaign is reducing GPs to the role of pen pushers

Sometimes – just sometimes – I feel health education leaders cannot win in their attempts to recruit GPs.

Government lack of funding means that GPs’ pay and conditions continue to get worse and, in such an environment, attracting people to join general practice is a tough job.

So, with the limited amount of money they have, there is only so much they can do.

The ten-point plan was typical of this. Within its limited remit, Health Education England’s proposals could be seen as sensible. Without the power to cut bureaucracy, increase pay and reduce the stress, there was little more they could do.

A marketing campaign to extol the virtues of general practice seemed obvious, even if the prevailing head winds are against them.

However, having made the decision to run with it, they have made a massive own goal.

The new video, featuring a cancer survivor skydiving, reduces the role of a GP to a hand signing a consent form.

Yep, highlighting the paperwork – that many would argue GPs should not have to do – will certainly get people signing up.

Surely the heart of the job is being a supporter and guide through their patient’s illness. From diagnosis to all-clear. Through good times and bad. Not simply being a pen-pusher.

If they were set on this story – and there is no reason not to be – we could have seen the GP telling the patient there is no reason their cancer will come back, or that there is no reason they can’t have children, etc.

Of course, they may do this in future videos. But it is hardly off to a great start.

Jaimie Kaffash is news editor of Pulse