Letters, calls and emails: Contract was Trojan horse to harm GPs

Dear Editor

The tsunami of bad press towards GPs is the government’s attempt to soften up the public ready for the entry of private providers into general practice.

The new contract offered the opportunity to control unmeasured workload and this culminated in most of us giving up out-of-hours with a commensurate loss of earnings — although that is often not reported in the media.

The trade-off was that our in-hours would be filled with measurable outcomes — the quality framework.

The profession rose to the challenge (although we were already doing most of the work but not counting the beans). We increased staff numbers, invested in staff training and invested huge amounts of free time to achieve more points and thus deliver the promises the government made to its public.

By delivering the quality framework, we achieved a reduction in morbidity and mortality rates.

So it beggars belief that the public are being drip fed sound bites that insidiously damage our profession.

As we have seen from the formulaic approach to governance, all public sectors have been reviewed and then altered so that they can be scored. Then league tables are published, allowing the government to show the public how hard it had worked. This translates to votes.

Such has been the lot of firemen, nurses, hospital doctors, the police and now GPs. In the detritus left behind this debacle, GPs and nurses at the coal face were left to honour government promises with decreased autonomy and a nightmare public-relations exercise reaffirming our professional and caring approach to patient care.

My own experience in the weeks since the high-powered assault started on our profession led me to write, but I am deeply grateful for the anger my patients have conveyed at what they see as unrelenting and unfair attack on a profession that still strives to deliver a caring and personal health service to people as people and not numbers and statistics to be counted and tabulated.

Dr Sai Ramanathan
Potters Bar, Hertfordshire

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