Today the medical mag for GPs, “Pulse”, reports the following:
“The chief executive of Health Education England has suggested that hospital physicians could be encouraged to spend the last few years before retirement in general practice to help solve workforce problems.
Speaking before the Commons Health Committee, Professor Ian Cumming said he would like to see the performers list reformed so physicians who want to ’work on a much more structured basis’ could work in primary care.”
Oh boy! As Mr McEnroe once said “You cannot be serious!” The thought of me, a rheumatologist, going into general practice after years of specialist work, and dealing with paediatric emergencies and gynae problems not only fills me with horror but should alarm the patients! Who will retrain us and how long would it take? Why did we specialists become specialists in the first place? Could it be because we didn’t want to be GPs? My parents were both GPs and I knew exactly what I wasn’t going to do even if at first I didn’t know what I was going to do.
This has to be the most insane suggestion I have ever heard. Prof Cumming is head of Health Education England? He should be going, not Cumming. I suppose the MPs lapped it all up – unless he was actually suggesting that the specialists continued practising their specialism, but in a GP setting. But I fear he wasn’t, given the context. Anyway farming specialists out “into the community” is insane as well, as it isolates them from their multidisciplinary teams and colleagues and is totally inefficient throughput-wise. I should know – I used to do it long ago (but not for long!).