Clinical Priorities

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

Each year the college selects a small number - usually between two and four - lower profile clinical areas or aspects of care to become UK-wide RCGP clinical priorities for a three-year period. A senior clinician is recruited to provide clinical leadership for each programme. The lead clinician works 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.

Who can propose a clinical area or aspect of care to become a future UK-wide RCGP clinical priority?

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.

What is the process?

If you would like to propose a clinical area or aspect of care for consideration as a future UK-wide RCGP clinical priority, please complete and return the proposal form below. If you would like to discuss your idea please contact the CIRC team via We are currently revising and updating our guidance to those wishing to submit proposals. An announcement will be made when this guidance is available when the next selection process is formally launched.

Clinical Priorities Proposal Form

What is the deadline for submitting a proposal?

You can submit a proposal at any time, but it will only be considered during the next selection process. This will be to consider proposals for programmes to start in April 2016. The deadline for proposals is likely to be in spring or early summer 2015 and the precise date will be announced when the next selection process is launched, probably in early 2015.

How are RCGP clinical priorities chosen?

All proposals submitted by the deadline will be considered by CIRC Board which makes recommendations to UK College Council. Once new clinical priorities have been chosen, CIRC recruits a senior clinician to provide clinical leadership to each new programme. The lead clinicians work with the CIRC team to provide clinical leadership to each new programme. The lead clinicians work with the CIRC team to produce a programme plan. During the planning process, the advice of key decision-makers and opinion-formers is sought as collaboration and partnership working are at the heart of the success of RCGP clinical priority programmes.

Clinical Champion Role Description [PDF]

What are the potential major areas of influence and impact for RCGP clinical priority programmes?

Access to care
Clinical and public policy
Collaboration to improve partnership working
Easier access to relevant guidance, information and resources 
Education and training
Patient information
Service development and dissemination of best practice

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 

Antimicrobial resources

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 

Cancer resources  

Care Planning

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

Care Planning 

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. CKD is led by Dr Kathryn Griffith.

Kathryn Griffith's profile

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

Dementia resources 


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

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, Dr Peter Nightingale is now the clinical lead for the area.

Peter Nightingale's 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. Dr Greg Rogers is the clinical champion for epilepsy care.

Greg Roger's profile

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. Dr Waqaar Shah leads on eye health.

Waqaar Shah's profile

Eye Health 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

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 

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 proportionately high. Dr Jane Roberts is the champion for youth mental health.

Jane Robert's profile

Adolescent Health resources

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