12 Months of Innovation

'As the year draws to a close I take the opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved in the last 12 months, and consider how this can help us all as GPs become better at supporting our patients. The Clinical Innovation and Research Centre (CIRC) at the RCGP has worked hard to support GPs. The outputs are too numerous to mention, but we capture some of our 12 month highlights below.'

Imran Rafi, CIRC Medical Director

January 2014

One in eight GP practices 'Research Ready'


After signing up to CIRC's self-accreditation initiative encouraging GP teams and patients to get involved in primary care research, over 1000 GP practices are now 'Research Ready'. This important milestone reflects the invaluable contribution that GPs make to medical research within the UK.

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February 2014

RCGP commits to addressing health inequalities

CIRC select Health Inequalities to join the Clinical Priority programme. The Clinical Champion, John Patterson, will deliver a 3-year programme of work that focuses on lobbying for greater attention of Health Inequalities as a key priority for family medicine, developing guidance for commissioning, and develop a portfolio of education resources. Through consultation with a Special Interest Group, this priority will garner popular opinion from GPs to focus the work of this Champion on key outputs in what is a wide and challenging remit.

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March 2014

Cascading knowledge with Cancer Research UK

Cancer Cell

CIRC and CRUK's collaboration goes from strength to strength with the delivery of 'Cascade' workshops to equip GP Cancer Leads with practical skills, confidence and knowledge to be more effective in their local areas. These form part of the five year programme to improve early diagnosis in primary care. This work continues with the RCGP Clinical Champion for Cancer, Richard Roope, and further events are being planned across the UK throughout 2015.

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Universities unite on multimorbidity research

CIRC champions a major nationwide £1.78 million study to improve the quality of life for patients suffering with multiple long-term health conditions. Working with researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester and Dundee, this will provide advice for GPs working with patients to support management of complex medical conditions and associated problems with mental health and polypharmacy.

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HeadMeds - straight talking on youth mental health

Skeleton Neurological

The RCGP endorses a vital new online resource developed by YoungMinds called 'HeadMeds'. Developed for young people by young people, HeadMeds provides accessible, down-to-earth, and trustworthy information about mental health medication at a time which is often confusing and frightening for them.

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April 2014

Parity for mental health


The College selects mental health to be its second enduring priority after cancer, highlighting its commitment to promoting parity with physical health. Perinatal mental health was also selected, as it is one of the leading causes of maternal deaths in the UK. These two programmes focus on raising awareness among GPs, developing education and training as well as multi-disciplinary working and commissioning. The launch event was chaired by Nigel Mathers, the College's Honorary Secretary. Liz England (Clinical Champion for Mental Health) and Judy Shakespeare (Clinical Champion for Perinatal Mental Health) continue to develop and grow these programmes of work.

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E-communication in care wins coveted innovation award


Helen Atherton wins the Yvonne Carter Award for innovation for her work on e-communication. The award will fund research to build on her work using email for consulting with patients in primary care and to further investigate the use of communication technologies for service delivery.

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May 2014

Dementia Roadmap roll out

CIRC's Clinical Priority programme on Dementia develops a comprehensive online resource to help people with dementia access care in their local area. Aimed at doctors and providers of community care, the Dementia Roadmap is designed to reflect a patient's needs as they progress through the disease and signpost them to relevant local resources. The Roadmap was produced in collaboration with the Alzheimer's Society and funded by the Department of Health.

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Pilot for Community-Based Surgery Audit (CBSA)


Collaborating with the Health and Social Care Information Centre, the RCGP enables GPs to monitor and improve their quality of the service through the development of the CBSA. The tool provides feedback on their practice and results, allowing comparison with their peers. GPs are able to collect data to support re-accreditation, appraisal, revalidation and local contracting.

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June 2014

Child maltreatment and the role of the GP


The RCGP responds to increased calls for a public health approach to child maltreatment by producing a report calling on governments and policy makers to rethink the role of GPs. This aims to maximise the potential of the crucial doctor-patient and doctor-child relationships to create a public health approach of early intervention to reduce child maltreatment. The report was produced in collaboration with NSPCC, UCL Institute of Child Health and the University of Surrey.

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July 2014

Evidence summits: what's working well for carers?

RCGP partners with NHS England and NHS Improving Quality to hold four carers evidence summits in July 2014. Working with carers, commissioners and GPs, the four regional events used interactive drama to explore carers' experiences and shared examples of successful regional initiatives. This has formed the beginning of the an innovative partnership with NHSE and NHSIQ which will continue to help those working in primary care to provide support for carers.

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Lester tool 2014 reboot


The much celebrated Helen Lester tool, a simple framework for identifying and treating cardiovascular and Type Two diabetes risks in patients, is updated. Co-produced by NHD England, NHS Improving Quality, Public Health England and the National Audit of Schizophrenia (NAS) team to support the 2014 physical health CQUIN, this resource was adapted for UK use initially through a consensus group led on behalf of the RCGP by Professor Helen Lester, later being named in memory of her.

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August 2014

Peer support in cancer - Significant Event Audit (SEA)

A joint initiative of RCGP, the National Cancer Action Team (NCAT) and Macmillan Cancer Support, this vital 12 month pilot offered anonymised external peer assessment of SEAs of cancer diagnosis to encourage reflection and learning. Concluding this month, the pilot provided an opportunity for practices to develop their SEA techniques and assess the longer-term impact.

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September 2014

Delivering effective end of life care

CIRC'S Clinical Programme on End of Life Care launches the first of many one-day events across the UK in Sheffield. Bringing together local GPs and practice nurses, the day focused on pain control and advance care. Funded by Marie Curie Cancer Care and Macmillan, a further seven events will run across the UK in early 2015.

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October 2014

RCGP and UK Vision Strategy publish essential guide for GPs

'Sight Loss in Older People: The essential guide for general practice' is launched at the RCGP annual conference in Liverpool. Maureen Baker, RCGP Chair said, 'This guide is an ideal learning tool to help general practice teams increase their knowledge and awareness of the particular sight issues facing older people. It includes helpful hints, tips and advice on making general practices more accessible to all people with sight loss.'

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Safeguarding younger patients

Developed by Dr Vimal Tiwari (RCGP Safeguarding Children Lead) and Dr Matthew Hoghton (RCGP CIRC Medical Director), this popular toolkit equips GPs with information and procedures necessary to make informed, appropriate and confident decisions about the health and safeguarding of their younger patients. All content has been updated and recommendations from the police, social workers, government agencies and schools are included as well as new content on the topics of child trafficking, radicalisation, female genital mutilation and cyber bullying.

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November 2014

Meeting the challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance

Leading experts from across the professional spectrum called for national measures to be implemented across the NHS without delay. Nigel Mathers, Honorary Secretary of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: 'Antibiotics can work brilliantly as long as they are properly prescribed and used appropriately, but we have developed a worrying reliance on them and some of our patients now see them as a cure-all.'

The TARGET antibiotics toolkit, developed by the RCGP Clinical Champion for Antimicrobial Stewardship, Michael Moore, and PHE Primary Care Unit serves to help GPs address this issue. TARGET acts as a central resource for clinicians, their patients and commissioners to promote sage, effective, appropriate and responsible antibiotic prescribing. As a GP this will support you in fulfilling your CPD and revalidation requirements.

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December 2014

Caring for Carers Hub

The RCGP Caring for Carers Hub is an online resource designed for GPs and primary healthcare professionals to use as a one-stop-shop for information when in consultation with carers. The Hub has a local focus whilst also containing relevant national resources in an easy-to-use, free platform.

This was piloted in 6 CCGs in the summer and we are now looking to work with other localities. Please contact supportingcarers@rcgp.org.uk if you are interested in developing a Hub at your local CCG level.

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Better support for carers


RCGP, NHS England and NHS Improving Quality launches a suite of resources designed to help healthcare professionals and commissioners support carers at the NHS England Commitment to Carers event. These resources include the Carers Commissioning Support Principles and the RCGP Caring for Carers Hub.

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Countdown to Patient Online

The RCGP is working with NHSE to produce a toolkit aimed at GPs and practice staff which provides practical support and guidance in introducing Patient Online within their own practices. The toolkit currently holds practical guidance documents on subjects including Identify Verification, Coercion, Proxy Access and Records Access. Further resources will be available by the end of the year including guidance on how your practice can get started with offering online appointments and repeat prescriptions, followed by a suite of e-learning modules next year ahead of the March 2015 deadline.

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