Welcome, friends, to another edition of What Are GPs Crap At This Week? Referring cancers too late, you say? No, that was last time.
Today we’re referring to CAMHS too early, according to a new report from a think tank called Localis. The report says 60% of GP referrals to CAMHS are inappropriate, which sounds shocking till you discover that the sole reference for that remarkable claim turns out to be… er… this Pulse article about how CAMHS keep bouncing loads of dangerously sick kids back to their GPs.
Bravo, Localis. I can’t wait for your next report. ‘We’ve discovered nearly 100% of lung cancer patients have previously been advised by their doctor to quit smoking, and urge GPs to stop giving this clearly dangerous health advice.’ Or maybe: ‘55% of people die in hospitals – AVOID THEM AT ALL COSTS.’
Heaven forfend that they might consider widening the notoriously narrow balistraria that constitutes the CAMHS therapeutic window.
No, this one is All Your Fault. And the proposed solution, as usual, is not giving us more time, or more bloody GPs, but more training. The classic PR trick of drawing attention to your hobby horse special interest by putting a dunce cap on GPs may have become a cliché, but boy is it tiresome. There’s something uniquely dispiriting about having spent over a decade hitting the books only to find you’ve joined a profession which is constantly castigated for its ignorance.
And we’re only set to get dumber, as Health Education England have cut their running costs for GP education by a third, to free up cash to churn out more physician associates. I know, it seems weird to be spending our money on the equivalent of the Springfield Monorail when Main Street’s still all cracked and broken, but what can you do?
What you can do, if you’re so inclined, is support Ramesh Mehay’s Bradford VTS site. If you’ve either undergone or delivered GP training in the last 15 years you’re probably aware of this frequently-lifesaving and totally free online library, which is a kind of Hitchhiker’s Guide to Educationalist Mumbo-Jumbo that’s helped drag many a trainee through the baffling MRCGP process. It gets 46,000 hits a month, so of course HEE have pulled its budget, leaving its creator forced to rely on crowdfunding. So chuck some love Ramesh’s way if you can, and help fight the good fight against GP ignorance. Until next week, at least.
Dr Pete Deveson is a GP in Surrey. You can follow him on Twitter @PeteDeveson