Vanity Fair

General Practice – The story so far:

Last week many of us tried to satisfy our appraisers by proving that we had met their unilaterally determined and arbitrarily applied indicators of satisfactory professional development.

Others, under politically motivated advanced access arrangements, endeavoured to deliver a government agenda by offering patients appointments at times they did not want to be seen.

Some of us spent hours preparing the evidence to convince CQC inspectors, in frequently nonsensical ways, that our practice was safe and responsive to the needs of our patients.

And all of us tried to deliver those alleged markers of good clinical care so beloved of QoF all the while forgetting that all too often they rely on merely measuring the measurable rather than the meaningful.

Welcome to 21st century general practice – a world where, like Vanity Fair, everybody is striving for what’s not worth having.

This week, let’s remember the answer we gave when we were asked at our medical school interview why we wanted to do medicine. None of us said ‘Hit targets’ – a singularly dull and, ironically, all too often, pointless pursuit. We may have been naive, but we meant it when we answered ‘To help people’.

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