National Association for Patient Participation

NI RCGP Annual Conference First5 reflections from Northern Ireland

25 October 2017

This year, the RCGP Annual Primary Care Conference took place in Liverpool from 12 – 14 October. We were pleased to see many GPs representing the excellent work and innovation in general practice coming from Northern Ireland.

Newly qualified GP from Ballymena, Dr Frew Johnston, attended conference for the first time. Like many others, Dr Johnston is a young doctor with a passion to deliver the best care to patients and to ensure they get the best outcomes when engaging with health and social care services.

Having been involved in a Quality Improvement project as a GP Trainee, Dr Johnston submitted a poster at conference to show the work he has been doing to help patients with diabetes get quick and efficient care from the right member of the wider general practice team. Here are his reflections from conference…

I was really pleased to have won the RCGPNI EQUIP (Experience in Quality Improvement) Prize 2017 as part of my final year of General Practice Specialty Training.  The prize funded my attendance at the RCGP annual primary care conference and I was delighted to be able to attend for the first time.

I won the EQUIP prize for my Quality Improvement project, which focussed on improving the initial referral process in my practice for patients who had been newly diagnosed with type two diabetes to the broader multidisciplinary team.  The project demonstrated how the introduction of a referral toolkit could result in improved initial referral rates to the right team members.  It also helped to increase efficiency for clinical staff and ensured that patient received good quality information leaflets to help them learn about and manage their recently diagnosed condition.

I had the opportunity to share this project as a poster at the conference and was delighted to see it won a “Highly Commended” rosette. On the Friday afternoon, I also had the chance to present my project outcomes to GPs from across the UK during a Quality Improvement seminar. Presenting alongside Dr Nigel Hart (Senior Lecturer in General Practice QUB) and Dr Joanna Bircher (Clinical Lead for QI, RCGP), we had the opportunity to showcase the value of Quality Improvement in general practice and the positive results we are witnessing in Northern Ireland.

It was encouraging and inspiring to be reminded about the real impact that we can make as general practitioners in lives of our patients and their families. As family doctors, we have a unique position and opportunity in the healthcare system to be able to build relationships with people and to provide person-centred care. 

At conference, there was so much to learn, so much to share and so many networking opportunities. It was thought provoking to attend seminars on managing uncertainty, the increasing issue of antimicrobial resistance, and how to achieve better outcomes in adolescent mental health.  With the choice of seminars available there really was something for everyone!

I hope to attend again in the future and would encourage anyone who hasn’t been yet to strongly consider it!

General practice is a fantastic and rewarding career. If you are a medical student at Queen’s University Belfast and interested in hearing more about a career as a family doctor in Northern Ireland, come visit the RCGP NI stand at the QUB medical school careers fair on Wednesday 15 November!

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