The Clinical Priority Programme
The RCGP carefully selects clinical areas to raise their profile and increase awareness both within general practice and across primary care.
All college members, country councils, faculties, committees, boards and groups, as well as affiliated primary care societies, other royal colleges, charities and patient and third sector organisations are actively encouraged to propose clinical areas and aspects of care for selection as future UK wide RCGP clinical priorities.
A senior clinician is recruited to the role of Clinical Champion to provide clinical leadership for each programme. The Clinical Champion works closely with the Clinical Innovation and Research Centre (CIRC) to plan, implement and deliver an innovative programme of work to help GPs and fellow primary healthcare professionals to improve the quality of life and care of patients.
The role of the Clinical Champion is to work in partnership with key decision makers and opinion formers on a selection of identified projects that seek to improve the quality of care to benefit patient outcomes.
The current Clinical Priorities are:
Antimicrobial Stewardship: April 2012 to March 2015
Clinical Champion: Dr Michael Moore
Working with Public Health England as a key stakeholder, this priority aims to raise awareness of the importance of improving antimicrobial use and slowing the relentless rise in resistance in all antimicrobial classes.
Improved communication skills, patient information and delayed prescribing can change prescribing behaviour and expectations. One important element of this work is the TARGET Antibiotics Toolkit which has been developed as a central resource for clinicians and commissioners about safe, effective, appropriate and responsible antibiotic prescribing, and helping to fulfil CPD and revalidation requirements.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder: April 2014 to March 2017
Clinical Champion: Dr Carole Buckley
The aims of this priority are to set the highest standards for general practice through ensuring GPs have the best possible training to support them throughout their professional lives to deliver the best possible service.
This will be achieved through the development of Autism friendly community services, timely diagnosis with appropriate referral, provision of appropriate support for those with ASD (and their family and carers), improving health and wellbeing outcomes.
Cancer: April 2012 to March 2017
Clinical Champion: Dr Richard Roope
Working with Cancer Research UK as a key stakeholder, Dr Richard Roope is leading on this five year clinical priority, enabling us to give greater focus to a challenging clinical area. This priority aims to establish a long term collaborative relationship on the basis of national priorities between the RCGP and CRUK.
Dementia: April 2012 to March 2015
Clinical Champions: Dr Jill Rasmussen and Professor Louise Robinson
With the prevalence of dementia increasing, with enormous impact on human suffering and service utilisation, this programme aims to improve the primary care response, focusing particularly on early diagnosis and community support.
Diabetes: April 2013 to March 2016
Clinical Champion: Dr Stephen Lawrence
Working with Diabetes UK as a key stakeholder, this priority aims to promote awareness of diabetes as a long term condition. Outcomes will include providing GPs and primary care teams with tools, information and support to maintain and develop the highest possible standards of primary care, and improve the quality of patient care provided in general practice, with a specific focus on clinical innovation, audit and research.
End of Life Care: April 2013 to March 2016
Clinical Champion: Dr Peter Nightingale (with Dr Adam Firth as Clinical Support Fellow)
Working with Marie Curie Cancer Care as a key stakeholder, the focus of this work is to promote and enable high quality care for people nearing the end of their life, based on their needs and preferences.
Through strategic development to improve provision, and ensuring that patient preferences and choices form the basis for end of life care approaches, this programme will raise the profile of End of Life care, consolidating the work already undertaken and building for the future.
Epilepsy Care: April 2013 to March 2016
Clinical Champion: Dr Gregory Rogers
Working with the Epilepsy Society as a key stakeholder, this priority aims to improve the quality of care both clinically and holistically, in general practice for people living with epilepsy.
This is achieved through education to reduce the treatment gap, and reach people not accessing epilepsy care. It will build links to help reduce the psychosocial consequences of epilepsy and strengthen links to supporting stakeholders in this work, and embed epilepsy specialist care by supporting further recruitment of GPs with extended roles in epilepsy.
Eye Health: April 2013 to March 2016
Clinical Champion: Dr Waqaar Shah
Working with UK Vision Strategy as a key stakeholder, this priority aims to reduce preventable sight loss amongst the ageing population across the UK, and improve referral to eye care services of any patient with signs of "correctable" sight loss.
The priority will enable more patients with unpreventable sight loss (including those who are blind or partially sighted) to maintain their independence for longer.
With over 80% of sight loss occurring in people over 60 years of age, and with 50% of older people having undetected sight loss, GPs are being supported to respond to the challenge of reducing sight loss, with measurable gains in other health indicators.
Kidney Care, Chronic Kidney Disease and Acute Kidney Injury: April 2013 to March 2016
Clinical Champion: Dr Kathryn Griffith (with Dr May Aldean, and Dr Riwaan Ahmed as Clinical Support Fellows)
Working with the British Kidney Patient Association as a key stakeholder, this priority aims to improve understanding of links between kidney disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease to increase GP confidence to diagnose and manage.
Although only a minority of patient progress to end-stage renal disease, the numbers receiving renal replacement therapy continue to increase.
Mental Health: April 2014 to March 2019
Clinical Champion: Dr Liz England
This is a five year priority area which will enable the RCGP provide greater focus to a challenging clinical area. This priority aims to establish a long term, collaborative relationships to support general practice in developing the role of general practice in the care of patients with mental health conditions, and to explore the potential of primary care to enhance the quality of care and experience of patients.
Perinatal Mental Health: April 2014 to March 2017
Clinical Champion: Dr Judy Shakespeare
Working with the Maternal Mental Health Alliance as a key stakeholder, this priority aims to ensure women across UK have access to universal high quality mental health care and support in the perinatal period.
The work takes a multi-disciplinary approach to using resources in universal services through effective pathways to take the most appropriate approach to support women, fathers and families after miscarriage, stillbirth or perinatal loss and maternal death.
Rare Diseases: April 2012 to March 2015
Clinical Champion: Dr Imran Rafi (with Dr Lucy Davies as Clinical Support Fellow)
There are between 5,000 and 8,000 diseases which are classified as ‘rare diseases’. Whilst each only affects less than 0.1% of the population, together they affect 3 million patients. There are problems common to patients across all rare diseases – principally diagnosis, co-ordination of care, and access to information and support.
This project works with the Motor Neurone Disease Association to draw together existing resources to help GPs in the diagnosis and management of patients with any rare disease but with a primary focus on motor neurone disease (MND). In addition we have worked on developing new resources to increase GP awareness and knowledge of MND.
Youth Mental Health: April 2013 to March 2016
Clinical Champion: Dr Jane Roberts (with Dr Frances Baawuah as Clinical Support Fellow)
Early intervention is important in changing the trajectory of mental health problems. Although young people have the lowest prevalence of physical health problems of all age groups, a significant proportion of adult mental illness starts during adolescence, with later onsets being mostly secondary conditions.
This priority area focusses on reviewing the GP curriculum, develop and disseminate educational resources and activities to meet continuing professional development needs of general practitioners and practice teams, and through research develop an evidence base through working with academics from universities with an interest in youth mental health.