The leader of British GPs condemned ministers 'malicious criticism "and " slander "against family doctors amid a furious reaction by the profession to government demands to increase face- rendez-vous en face- face to face .
GP leaders say a 'blueprint' to improve general practice will do little to relieve intense pressure on surgeries and would exacerbatethe chronic shortage of family physicians by increasing the pressure to quit.
Their criticism was was picked up by former Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who said the government's plan would fail and instead urged Sajid Javid launch a major recruitment campaign to increase the number of general practitioners.
He came as Javid, the Secretary of Health , withdrew from a scheduled appearance at the Royal College of Physicians Annual Conference GPs in Liverpool at the last minute amid growing anger from family doctors over his inability to take the decisive action they sought to reduceire the workload.
His non-occurrence prompted claims that he was afraid of GPs. Instead, the Health Secretary chose to make a series of media appearances in London. He then visited a GP practice in South East London where he praised the doctors for their "incredible work ".
Professor Martin Marshall, college president, expressed frustration with general practitioners during his speech at the event. He said GPs "unwittingly find themselves at the center of a public storm over face-to-face appointments ".
"The malicious criticism of the profession by some sections of the media and some politicians following the switch to remote working - introduced to ensure the safety of our patients and our teams and to maintain the service.this operational - was the worst I can remember in over 30 years as a general practitioner, ”he said.
"This widespread vilification of hard-working GPs and our teams is unfair, demoralizing and indefensible. No one who works in general medicine deserves this abuse.
He didn 't name any politicians. However, in recent weeks Javid, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson's official spokesperson have all made it clear that they expect GPs to see more patients in person and resume their methods of treatment. work ahead of the pandemic, despite the continued threat of Covid- 19.
Javid unveiled a new plan to give GPs in England an additional 2£ 50million - but only if they offered more in-person appointments as well as more consultations on the day the patient calls for the first time.
Marshall also lambasted the government's intention to let patients rate the performance of their GPs using text messages, "based on their most recent experience accessing assistance." .
"We are particularly concerned about plans to increase monitoring of rushed practices and the introduction of an arbitrary text messaging service to assess performance of specific general practitioner practices, ”he said. “There are already ways for patients to share their experience. Introducing more measures will further demoralize an already kneeling profession and demonize struggling practices. "
The British Medical Association (BMA), which negotiates GP contracts with the government, criticized the government's plan and Javid's "concern" to meet no one.
"These proposals will only confirm the conviction of the profession that ministers and NHS England does not understand the dire state of general practice - or that they, and not the hard-working GPs, are to blame, "said Dr Richard Vautrey, chairman of the BMA's GP committee. ' "It is really scary that we have a government so ignorant of the needs of such a vital part of the NHS.
" General practitioners all over the world England will be truly horrified that this is touted as a lifeline to general practice as thIn reality, he could very well sink the ship. There is no doubt that this lack of action at such a critical time will force many general practitioners to hang up their stethoscopes and leave the profession for the last time. "
Hunt tweeted: " As someone who has tried unsuccessfully to get 5,000 extra GPs into the system, I don't think this package will turn the tide. "He added that while He was in office, he had increased the number of young physicians choosing to train as general practitioners, the overall number of general practitioners continued to decline as more older and more experienced family physicians took up their position. retired or going part-time.
"This is a depleted workforce that is running on empty due to massive mismatch between supply and demand Gluing plaster after gluing plaster does note will cut more, ”he said.
He urged Javid to launch a major recruitment drive to increase the number of general practitioners, including incentives for retired GPs to return to clinical practice, an overhaul of retirement rules that push GPs and hospital doctors to retire earlier than expected and make it easier for family doctors from countries like Canada and Australia to work in the UK.
Munira Wilson, Liberal Democrat health spokesperson , said the government's plan to release figures showing the number of face-to-face patient practices risked intensifying the trend towards early retirement.
" Sajid Javid's plans to appoint and shame general practitioners risk driving even more doctors away froma profession. The government should focus on achieving its own goal of hiring an additional 6,000 general practitioners, instead of trying to blame the doctors for their own failures, ”she said.
The Health Secretary said he and NHS England spoke to the Royal College of GPs, BMA and primary care doctors before unveiling the package of measures .
"What I heard in this consultation is that you need more support, and rightly so; there is a huge demand on our fantastic GPs, "he said." How can we help with that is by providing financial support, getting rid of some of this bureaucracy and helping to shift some of this demand to other more sensitive places. "