GPs are no less vulnerable to illness and stress than the patients they treat, and are likely to experience times when their standard of practice is difficult to maintain. GPs will, nevertheless, be held accountable to a range of performance criteria and need to develop ways of maintaining standards at times of increased stress.
Dr Steady has been a partner in your group general practice for the past 15 years. He has a busy practice and has always been popular with patients and staff. However, you receive several complaints about him in the period of a month, and a staff member resigns after an argument with him. At the weekly practice meeting, Dr Steady tells his partners that he has received notification of a complaint lodged with the medical board.
What has happened in Dr Steady’s personal or professional life that has led to this cluster of events? Is it simply bad luck or coincidence, or has Dr Steady’s performance slipped in some way?
What do we mean by ‘underperformance’, particularly in general practice? Is it the same as ‘impairment’, and is it remediable?