RCGP drops Julia Hartley-Brewer from annual conference programme

The RCGP has withdrawn an invitation for broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer to appear at its annual conference later this year, following criticism from GPs.

RCGP conference (Photo: Pete Hill)
RCGP conference (Photo: Pete Hill)

The college has confirmed it wrote to the TalkRadio breakfast show presenter to withdraw the invitation after it became aware of social media posts that were 'not conducive to the work we are doing to promote inclusivity within the profession and amongst patients'.

The college made clear that speakers at its annual conference 'do not necessarily reflect the views of the RCGP', but said it cancelled Ms Hartley-Brewer's invitation over comments that were 'too much at odds' with RCGP values.

An RCGP spokesperson said: 'A key purpose of the RCGP Annual Conference is to provoke debate about a wide range of issues impacting on general practice, the wider NHS and patient care - and we remain committed to putting together a programme that challenges our thinking and encompasses a broad range of views.

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'But further social media posts have come to light that we were unaware of when we invited Julia Hartley-Brewer to speak as part of a panel that are not conducive to the work we are doing to promote inclusivity within the profession and amongst patients, so we have made the decision to cancel her invitation to RCGPAC.

'Free speech is a cornerstone of our society and unless they are speaking in an official college capacity, speakers at our annual conference do not necessarily represent the views of the RCGP. But we are also an organisation committed to upholding the core values of the profession and of our members, and it has become clear that some of her views are too much at odds with these.'

More than 700 GPs signed a petition calling for the invitation to Ms Hartley-Brewer to be withdrawn. The presenter - whose mother was a GP - had been booked to take part in an 'NHS Question Time' panel debate.

Ms Hartley-Brewer said she was 'embarrassed for the doctors who want to no-platform me', and 'even more mortified for the RCGP'. She said: 'The Twitter offence archaeologists who have decided it’s my turn for the "two minutes of hate" have based their outrageous claims about me on just one half of a tweet I posted in 2016.'

Speakers at the 2019 annual conference will include GMC chair Dr Clare Marx, health secretary Matt Hancock, leading GP Dr Roger Neighbour, public health expert Professor Sir Michael Marmot and pharmacist Ravi Sharma.

Click here to find out more about RCGP annual conference 2019 and how to book

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