Britain’s chief medical officer has condemned ministers’ malicious criticism and insults of family doctors amid a furious reaction from the profession to the government’s demands that they increase appointments face to face.
Medical leaders warned that a plan to improve general practice would do little to ease the intense pressure on surgeries and exacerbate the chronic shortage of family doctors by pushing even more to give up.
Sajid Javid, the health secretary, emerged from a scheduled appearance at the Royal College of Physicians’ annual conference in Liverpool at the last minute amid growing anger among family doctors over his failure to take the decisive action they were seeking. to reduce workloads.
His non-appearance prompted claims that he was running scared of confronting doctors. The health secretary chose to do a round of London broadcast media shows in the country. He later visited a medical surgery in south east London, where he praised the doctors for their amazing work.
Prof. Martin Marshall, president of the colleges, expressed the frustration of the medical doctors in his speech at the event. He complained that medical doctors inadvertently find themselves at the center of a public storm for face-to-face meetings.
Malicious criticism of the profession by certain sections of the media and some politicians as a result of the shift to distance work introduced to keep our patients and our teams safe and to keep service at work has been the worst I can remember in over 30 years as a general practitioner, he said.
This widespread insult to our medical workers and teams in an unjust, demoralizing and unprotected manner. No one working in general practice deserves this abuse.
He did not mention any politician. But in recent weeks Javid, Jacob Rees-Mogg and the official spokesman for the prime minister on behalf of Boris Johnson have made it very clear that they expect doctors to see more patients in person and return to pre-pandemic working modes , despite threat from Covid-19.
Javid unveiled a new plan to give medical doctors in England an extra 250 million, but only if they offer more personal appointments as well as more consultation on the day the patient calls for the first time.
Marshall also criticized governments’ intent to let patients evaluate the performance of their physicians using text messaging, based on their recent experience of accessing support.
We are particularly concerned about plans to increase the control of difficult practices and the introduction of an arbitrary text messaging service to evaluate the performance of physicians’ specific practices.
There are already ways for patients to feed on their experience. The introduction of more measures will further demoralize a profession that is already on its knees and demonize the practices that are struggling.
The British Medical Association, which negotiates general practitioners’ contracts with the government, hit the government plan and Javids preoccupation with personal appointments.
These proposals will only confirm the belief of the professions that ministers and the NHS England fail to understand the dire state of general practice or that they, not diligent physicians, should be blamed, said Dr Richard Vautrey, chairman of the BMAs GP committee.
Truly it is scary that we have a government so ignorant as to the needs of such an essential part of the NHS.
Medical doctors across England will be truly horrified that this is being presented as a lifeline for general practice when in reality it can sink the ship altogether. There can be no doubt that this inaction at such a critical time will force many medical practitioners to close their stethoscopes and leave the profession for the last time, added Vautrey, a medical practitioner in Leeds.
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