Sunday, 4 October 2009

Nodding off in meetings

Many years ago I sat on the old Family Practitioners Committee (FPC) overseeing GPs, dentists etc. One Doctor (no doubt exhausted from being on call all night) regularly used to shut his eyes and nod off. It meant that when important votes were being taken he didn't always know what we were discussing. After a while I guess his colleagues had a word with him and he stopped attending.

Something in the last few days has triggered that memory and the vision of that poor man's confusions has haunted my dreams. It is embarrassing when you land up voting the wrong way because you have not been paying attention. Anyway the new doctor's contracts seem to me to have gone too far in divorcing GPs from the out of hours on call service. Merseyside had one of the first private Locum services where GPs contracted out the night time cover. I soon noticed that a large number of the doctors appearing before the 'discipline committee' were locums-well the charge sheet was in the name of the GP as he was responsible, but the doctor in error was the locum. I was always uncomfortable with this and I got really agitated when the local GPs elected the doctor who ran the private locum scheme on to the FPC. He was put on the 'discipline 'committee' and landed up hearing cases against his own service. I thought that was wrong. A better understanding about when a member had an interest to declare was needed.

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