Each year the RCGP chooses three clinical areas and supports efforts to raise the profile and awareness of these areas both within general practice and across primary care. Each priority programme runs for three years and is led by a clinical champion. The role of the clinical champion is to work in partnership with key decision-makers and opinion-formers in each clinical area on projects that seek to improve the care provided and patient outcomes.
From April 2012 RCGP selected an ‘enduring priority’. These are five year long programmes focusing on areas of high health policy interest. The first enduring priority selected is cancer.
Propose a new clinical priority
You can submit a proposal at any time, but priorities are considered on an annual basis.
Guidance notes for proposing a priority [PDF]
Advert – proposals for new clinical priorities [PDF]
Once clinical priorities have been chosen, a Clinical Champion is selected to spearhead the work and act as a representative for the RCGP. Some champions are supported by a First5 clinical champion.
A stakeholder group of key opinion-formers and policy-makers linked to each priority provides a forum for discussion and to facilitate partnership working. If you have a special interest within a clinical priority area, please register as a clinical adviser.
Clinical Champion role description
First5 Champion Role Description
Alliance of Primary Care Societies
Allergy (2010 - 2012)
This priority aims to help improve service delivery of allergy care in primary care and its champions have collaborated with the Food Standards Agency on information for patients. They are keen to improve undergraduate and postgraduate education and training. Professors Aziz Sheikh and Helen Smith are the joint champions for allergy.
Allergy champions' profiles
Antimicrobial Stewardship (2012 - 2015)
Increasing awareness of the importance of this topic will help to both improve antimicrobial use and slow the relentless rise in resistance in all antimicrobial classes. Improving communication skills, patient information and delayed prescribing can change prescribing behaviour and expectations. Dr. Michel Moore is the clinical champion for this area.
Michael Moore’s profile
Cancer (2012 - 2015)
Cancer is the first of our enduring clinical priorities and will run for five years, enabling us to give greater focus to a challenging clinical area. Professor Greg Rubin is leading the programme of work and we are working in with Cancer Research UK and other partners.
Greg Rubin’s profile
Building on ‘Year of Care’ this programme aims to transform the care of patients with LTCs using shared decision-making approaches and promoting the interactive partnership between clinician and patient. The programme focuses on applying the lessons of YoC generically (all conditions) and in the context of multimorbidity. This programme is led by Dr. Isabel Hodkinson.
Isabel Hodkinson's profile
Child Health (2010 - 2012)
General practice has a central role in addressing the particular health challenges of children and young people. With the NSPCC we have developed a safeguarding toolkit, an eLearning for GPs and we produced the Child Health Strategy 2010-2015. Dr Janice Allister is the clinical champion for this area.
Janice Allister’s profile
Child Health resources
Chronic Kidney Disease (2013 - 2016)
Although only a minority of patient progress to end-stage renal disease, the numbers receiving renal replacement therapy continue to increase. Prevalence of CKD stages 3-5 is estimated at 6-8%, but nationally registered QOF prevalence is only 4.3%. Greater understanding of links between kidney disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease will increase GP confidence to diagnose and manage CKD.
Chronic Pain (2011 - 2014)
We acknowledge the growing momentum to recognise chronic pain as a clinical condition worthy of clinical and academic investment. We are well placed to support these efforts; areas of focus include commissioning guidance, improving education and training and the patient experience and clarifying assessment and diagnostic tools. Pain management is led by Dr Martin Johnson.
Martin Johnson’s profile
Chronic Pain resources
Dementia (2012 -2015)
The prevalence of dementia is likely to increase with enormous impact on human suffering and service utilisation. We are working with our partners to improve the primary care response, focusing particularly on early diagnosis and community support. Dementia is jointly championed by Professor Louise Robinson and Dr Jill Rasmussen.
Dementia Champions' profiles
This is a partnership programme with Diabetes Care UK aiming at improving information and developing best practice tools. We have appointed Dr. Stephen Lawrence as joint clinical lead.
Stephen Lawrence's profile
Domestic Violence (2011 - 2014)
We aim to support the entire primary healthcare team to deliver care to those experiencing abuse. Key areas of focus include education and learning, commissioning and strengthening links between health and social care and the third sector. Professor Gene Feder and Dr Alex Sohal jointly champion domestic violence.
Domestic Violence champions' profiles
Domestic Violence resources
End of Life Care (2008 - 2010)
The time approaching the end of life is uniquely important and can present a challenge to primary care. The focus of this priority was to promote and enable high quality care for people nearing the end of their life, based on their needs and preferences. Professor Keri Thomas was the clinical champion for End of Life Care and is now the clinical lead for the area.
Keri Thomas’ profile
End of Life Care resources
Epilepsy Care (2013 - 2016)
The recent report from the All Party Parliamentary Group for Epilepsy revealed that around 69,000 people suffer from unnecessary seizures and that there are 400 avoidable deaths per year in England alone. Primary care is ideally placed to contribute to improved seizure control and patient wellbeing and reducing unscheduled care.
Eye Health (2013 - 2016)
Over 80% of sight loss occurs in people over 60 years of age. Around 50% of older people have undetected sight loss, which has a negative effect on physical and psychological wellbeing. GPs should be supported to respond to the challenge of reducing sight loss, with measurable gains in other health indicators.
Headache (2009 - 2011)
The management of headache in primary care is often less than ideal. This priority aimed to work with other professional and patient headache organisations to reduce the burden of the problem and improve its management in primary care. Dr David Kernick was the clinical champion for Headache and is now the clinical lead for this area.
David Kernick's profile
Learning Disabilities (2010 - 2012)
This priority seeks to address the acknowledged shortfall in access and delivery of care for people with learning disabilities in primary care. This area is championed by Dr Matt Hoghton who authored a step by step guide, which supports your practice in delivering annual health checks for these patients.
Matt Hoghton’s profile
Learning Disabilities resources
Minor Surgery (2010 - 2012)
GPs who wish to practice surgery in primary care require training and the sharing of necessary skills and practices with secondary care. This priority has a significant audit focus which highlights examples of best practice. Dr Jonathan Botting is the champion for minor surgery.
Jonathan Botting’s profile
Minor Surgery resources
Nutrition for Health (2011 - 2014)
The focus for this priority is on improving support for people with weight management problems including obesity and malnutrition. We aim to engage primary care professionals in order to address these issues through better information and better co-ordination of services. Dr Rachel Pryke champions this area.
Rachel Pryke’s profile
Nutrition for Health resources
Rare Diseases (with a focus on Motor Neurone Disease) (2012 - 2015)
It is important that GPs are aware of the possibility of being presented with a rare disease. The programme will focus initially on MND. This will help us explore issues related to diagnosis and appropriate responses in primary care including referral. This area will be championed by Dr Imran Rafi.
Imran Rafi’s profile
Rare Diseases resources
Respiratory (2009 - 2011)
Respiratory disease is the third most commom cause of long-term ill health in adults. The RCGP respiratory care programme aims to improve patient care in general practice, focusing on asthma and COPD. Dr Kevin Gruffydd Jones (Clinical Lead) and Dr Shoba Poduval (Clinical Support Fellow) lead this programme.
Kevin Gruffydd Jones’ profile
Social Inclusion (2011 - 2014)
This priority focuses on people from socially excluded groups who have problems accessing primary health care services. Key groups include:
- asylum seekers and refugees
- homeless and vulnerably-housed people
- offenders and recent offenders
- sex workers
- travelling communities
Dr Paramjit Gill is the champion for social inclusion
Paramjit Gill’s profile
Urgent and Emergency Care (2008 - 2010)
This priority sought to encourage GPs and primary healthcare providers to aspire to the highest quality and standards for continual improvements in patient care and patient safety and that there are services available to support this. Dr Agnelo Fernandes was the clinical champion for this area.
Urgent and Emergency Care resources
Youth Mental Health (2013 - 2016)
Early intervention is important in changing the trajectory of mental health problems. A significant proportion of adult mental illness starts during adolescence, with later onsets being mostly secondary conditions. Although young people have the lowest prevalence of physical health problems of all age groups, the prevalence of mental health is proportionaltely high.