Quality of care: We may not like it, but Steve Field has a point

Some areas of general practice are embarrassing - but, unlike the CQC's Steve Field, I am not ashamed of the profession, says Dr Chris Mimnagh.

Let me just annoy you up front. Steve Field has a point in his widely reported comments about general practice.

There are areas of the profession that quite honestly are embarrassing.

Those practices who ‘dump’ work into the out-of-hours services. Those practices whose benzodiazepine prescribing is supporting the criminal economy.

Those practices where appointment waits, home visiting and environment are less than any of us would like for our families.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not being Jeremy ‘it’s appalling that half the practices are below average’ Hunt, I’m just saying that not everywhere is as good as any reasonable GP would like.

However, I’m not in any way, shape or form ashamed of general practice.

I'm proud of general practice

I’m proud that we see 90% of the NHS activity. I’m proud that we operate a service that manages the tension between access and continuity.

I’m proud that some of the brightest minds in this country devote their lives to dealing with the complex daily exposition of the human condition in all its chaotic and varied manifestations.

I am however ashamed of some of our colleagues. Those individuals who have focussed only on secondary care contracting. Those for whom the assessment of primary care is a business rather than a vocation. Those for whom numbers and activity count more than quality and humanity.

I know it’s Christmas and many consider it as season of goodwill to all. Perhaps in light of my comments above may I offer my seasons greetings: Peace on earth and happiness to all and goodwill to general practice.

  • Dr Chris Mimnagh is a GP in Liverpool co-director of clinical strategy at the NHS partnership organisation Liverpool Health Partners

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