GP and Keep Our NHS public campaigner Dr David Wrigley has challenged assertions made by the Care Quality Commision’s Inspector of General Practice, Dr Steve Field – himself a GP. Field has publicly condemned many GPs as failing their patients and general practice, telling the Daily Mail that they had “failed their profession”.
In his reply, an open letter to Field published by Our NHS, David Wrigley lists the crippling pressure facing his colleagues and calls on Field to question his own behaviour, as any true professional should:
“My jaw dropped when I read this. I just couldn’t believe someone who had once led the profession as Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, and is now the chief inspector of GPs at the Care Quality Commission, could say this.
“General practice – the backbone of the NHS – is on the verge of collapse. Our workload is unsustainable and unsafe. GPs have had enough – and are leaving in their droves to retire early or work abroad. GPs are forced to choose between giving up and cracking up. The ever increasing burden of over-regulation and bureaucracy is also bringing General Practice to its knees. We’re not helped by micro management of our day to day work by the likes of the organisation you work for, the Care Quality Commission.
“Those sections of the media, political classes and think tanks who wish to see a privatised general practice service will lap up your comments…GPs who work such long hours they can hardly drive home safely will just wonder whether it is all worth it.
“As a GP yourself I hope you will now do what all GPs should do – reflect on their actions and think whether you have done the right thing. The Daily Mail interview was not, I feel, your finest hour.Please don’t make any more comments to demoralise and depress my colleagues. We really don’t need it.
“Please direct your critical comments to those who deserve them and who are responsible for the mess the NHS is in – the politicians. They are the ones who have truly failed our profession, and patients.”
The current Royal College of General Practitioners’ Chair, Dr Maureen Baker, also found Field’s remarks “baffling”. Dr Field’s practice rates 2.5 out of 5 “Stars” on the NHS Choice’s own rating scale.
David is a GP practising in Lancashire. He co-authored NHS For Sale – full of facts to de-bunk the myths about the NHS promoted by the likes of Dr Field.