I have loved being a GP and would choose it again. During 30 years in practice, I have seen good times and bad. At present our profession is under intolerable pressure with unsustainable workloads, feeling undervalued, yet achieving so much.
What we do is unique, valuable and worth fighting for. The profession needs a strong unified College fighting for its members and the future of general practice. As your President I would listen to your views and be your voice challenging the Officers and Executive of the College to deliver on this.
I have represented and lead GPs at local, national and UK level. This has enabled me to support colleagues and patients get the best out of general practice. As Chair of RCGPWales I was closely involved in the campaign “Put Patients First: Back General Practice”, successfully lobbying for increased funding. We strongly influenced the Welsh national primary care plan, which recognises the value of general practice, acknowledges the work pressures, makes realistic commitments, and actively supports recruitment. I am respected by policy makers and colleagues as a serious , honest and challenging advocate for general practice.
I helped set up a leadership programme for “first fives” that has “produced” two faculty chairs, a first five lead and the current RCGPWales chair
I am a lead in the International Choosing Wisely Movement, focusing on retaining our professionalism, using clinical judgement in applying evidence, promoting shared decision making, and confronting the pressures to over-diagnose.
I understand the differences between Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales, the desire for Faculties to retain some autonomy, the importance of being international, yet I am struck by the strength of our common purpose and needs.
Your College represents all of you whatever your background, wherever you work and whatever your level of experience. We don’t all need to work in the same way; we do want to provide good care, work safely with adequate recognition and enjoy what we do. Your College should have resources and support relevant to you.
Many AITs are dissatisfied with the burden of assessment and the cost involved. We need to ensure that the MRCGP exam is proportionate but rigorous so all our trainees feel the experience of training is relevant, manageable and enjoyable but also that they have the right knowledge and skills to feel competent and confident to be working as GPs. I will be watching the current review of the MRCGP exam closely.
Each of you pays a significant subscription to the College. As Chair of the audit committee I have experience in checking that your money is spent prudently. As President I will ensure that members’ interests are foremost in the use of College finances.
The College has rightly concentrated at pushing excellence but less so on helping those in difficulty. We are beginning to see a shift with a peer review programme for practices who have had a less favorable CHC inspection. I significantly contributed to an Inspection Framework in Wales that is felt by practices be proportionate, fair, constructive and transparent and lead the development of a governance self assessment tool that is useful for all practices. I have also been closely involved with a Primary Care Support Service for GPs with problems. I would seek for this area of work to be expanded by the College.
It is important that your College supports those early in their career to gain confidence and expertise, those in the mid-career to consolidate practice and avoid burnout, and seniors to best use their experience and wisdom.
I will work to ensure that you are valued for the great work you do and the College:
with effective communication; listening, and ensuring accountability to the membership
challenges to work load and recruitment throughout general practice
when times are difficult; providing those tools to make your working life easier, helping you provide the service you want to provide
I would be honoured and excited to serve as your President.