I have made a note to myself to never accept a professorial position (although it’s not as if that would ever happen – the nearest I have got to research is counting up my referrals for the purposes of appraisal). Something clearly happens to a few doctors who have reached these dizzy heights – it’s as if the air is so rarefied up there that they lose some of their cognitive skills.
Almost exactly this time last year we had good old Professor Meirion Thomas, who considered himself some kind of whistleblower, protecting the public from those greedy, incompetent GPs.
He gave us all a lesson in professionalism and how to treat colleagues, and he did it in great Jeremy Kyle style by having a centre spread in the gutter press. In spite of me reporting him to the GMC (and getting nowhere), a part of me still felt his ignorance was understandable because even other doctors do not understand the work of GPs, let alone the general public and politicians.
So when an actual GP comes out with the same sweeping statements about our incompetence and tells the world he is ashamed to be a GP, it is far less easy to be forgiving.
And this is not any old GP like you or I. This is the ex-chair of the RCGP and now a chief Inspector of the CQC. And to top it all, he did it whilst rolling around in the dirty sheets of the Daily Mail.
With power and influence, comes responsibility. You cannot be a figurehead for something without being accountable to it. I, myself, learnt this recently after my blog on a 10-point action plan was published in Pulse. In it, I listed a number of ways for GPs to revolt without taking industrial action and one of them was to stop engaging with appraisal and revalidation.
As an appraiser, I was called up for this by my appraisal team and had a rap on the knuckles from my responsible officer – and rightly so. I accept that if I do something like this again, I am likely to be dismissed.
This is why Professor Steve Field must be expelled as chief inspector of the CQC and the RCGP need to seriously reflect on his fellowship status as I don’t think many of us believe he is a member in good standing. A public apology to GPs must come as an absolute minimum.
If you agree with this, please sign my petition here for this to be actioned.
Dr Shaba Nabi is a GP trainer in Bristol