RCGP chairman urges GPs to 'grow up' on pay

RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field has urged the profession to 'grow up' and stop expecting more resources.

Professor Field said GPs were paid sufficiently
Professor Field said GPs were paid sufficiently

At a King's Fund debate on NHS finances in London last week, Professor Field said GPs were paid an ‘appropriate amount' and should find ways to work more efficiently.

Professor Field said he wanted to see the RCGP and the profession being ‘braver' in trying to improve quality, ‘instead of listening to the [BBC's] Today programme and hearing GPs saying "we need more money to improve services".'

The DoH has said the NHS in England needs to find productivity gains worth £20bn over the next five years. An expert panel assembled by the King's Fund discussed whether the funding gap could be met by improving productivity, or whether cuts were inevitable.

Professor Field said GPs must work in networks of practices alongside specialists and other health professionals.

‘Gone are the days when GPs can work in splendid isolation in small practices,' he said.

‘The future looks like it will be an integrated care system. We need to ask: "How are we going to integrate with elderly care and our specialist colleagues?" Grow up as GPs and hand over care. Don't be scared of specialists dominating.'

Responding to this story, Professor Field said: 'I am disappointed that your coverage of my contribution to the King's Fund debate was taken out of context and made to look like an attack on the profession which it certainly was not.

'I spoke at length about quality of general practice, the need for strong GP leadership, the role of the GP at the centre of the NHS, and the need for more integrated care - most of which you failed to report or chose to ignore in order to focus on one line on GP pay.

'It is true that I think GPs are now paid 'appropriately' after years of being underpaid and underestimated for the work we do. But pay is not the locus of the RCGP and Dr Laurence Buckman and our colleagues at the GPC have this well under control.

'It is the responsibility of the RCGP to raise standards of patient care and I feel let down that such a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the excellent work that GPs are doing to this end was wasted and turned into yet another excuse to criticise the profession.

'There are plenty out there who are all too willing to put the boot in and undermine our work without GP newspaper joining the fray.'


Editor's blog: Should GPs just 'grow up' about pay and the need for efficiencies?

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