GPs hit back at criticism from business leaders

A failure of employers to provide their staff with a proper occupational health service lies at the root of the CBI’s attack on general practice, according to the GPC.

Dr Laurence Buckman
Dr Laurence Buckman

Business leaders had published a report this week saying that general practice had hardly changed since the inception of the NHS. The CBI report claimed that 38 million working hours and £1 billion a year were lost because staff had to visit their doctor during working hours.

But chairman of the GPC Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘The CBI and its members should put their own house in order before trying to heap the blame on general practice. If employees lose time from work to see their doctor it is either because they are ill and need care or because their employer has insisted they get a sick-note even for a temporary illness which has passed. This abuse of the sick-note system is a waste of the time of both working people and clinicians.’

General practice had changed profoundly, said Dr Buckman, with GPs now doing much of the work previously carried out in hospitals.

‘Is it possible that the CBI is hoping that its members will be able to take part in future privatisation of the health service? If the best they can do is to describe an NHS of long ago, and vent their prejudices in this way, it might have been a good idea to find out the facts first.

‘The reason why care is not fragmented amongst a number of doctors, as they unwisely suggest, is to prevent multiple attendances and confusion between different health professionals.’

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