A framework for the future of general practice

7 May 2020

What’s next?

While the challenge posed by COVID-19 is still with us, we are also now getting a better idea of what will come next.

On the one hand this relates to the route out of the strict lockdown measures and on the other what general practice, and the NHS as a whole, could look like in the near future. The College is very keen to be a strong constructive voice on what the future of general practice should look like.

This will include aspects introduced during the emergency that we would like to keep and those we would like to set aside when circumstances allow. We had an excellent conversation about this at our Welsh Council meeting last week and a pre-UK Council meeting this week.

I will be ensuring that views from GPs in Wales are heard clearly by those preparing a blueprint for what general practice should look like in the future.

Changes to general practice

There are three separate streams of work which are worth referencing which are focused on similar outputs.

Firstly, RCGP is hard at work preparing guidance on the future of general practice. This is being co-ordinated at a UK level but with input from all nations.

Our conversation at Welsh Council which included representatives from all Welsh faculties will feed into the process.

Secondly, we met this week with Professor Adrian Edwards from the PRIME Centre at Cardiff University. He is working with Welsh Government in preparing a plan for how we return to the new normal of general practice in Wales. We look forward to working closely on this project.

Thirdly, the NHS Wales Confederation has established a sub-committee to consider the implications of recent working changes across the NHS and Social Care.

Our policy officer sits on that sub-committee and will be ensuring the voice of general practice is heard clearly.

There is a window of opportunity to shape general practice for years to come as we emerge from the pandemic. We are keen to respond positively.

Update on AiT examinations

I’m very much aware that one group of our members who have been particularly affected by the lockdown restrictions are our Associates in Training.

This week the College, along with partners including Health Education and Improvement Wales, published an update letter to explain the current position. I know that there are still outstanding questions. The College is working with partners on this as a matter of priority.

I’d also like to acknowledge the work that Nicole Abel and Sarah Allen are doing as AiT representatives in Wales. They have only just started in the role and immediately face the challenge that lockdown presents to the assessment procedure.

Peter and I are in frequent contact with Nicole and Sarah and while we don’t have all the answers quite yet, it is a priority for us.

Thank you for all your work as we continue to provide excellent care for our patients in the most challenging of circumstances.

Post written by

Dr Mair Hopkin, Joint Chair of RCGP Wales

Dr Mair Hopkin qualified in 1980 and was until 2019 a partner at the Old School Surgery in Pontyclun. She has served as Chair and Provost of the South East Wales Faculty, as well as being Faculty Representative to RCGP’s UK Council.

Mair has a keen interest in child development and child and women’s health. She introduced a Well Baby clinic before it became part of the GP contract, and has co-authored a book on Child Health Development in Wales. She has also developed an interest in medical education, currently an Associate Dean in the Wales Deanery.

She married a farmer and lived on a working farm for three decades. She has three children, one of whom is a GP, and four grandchildren. Outside of medicine, her hobbies include spinning wool, knitting, reading and destructive gardening (“I’m good at pruning and digging but not growing things”). She is a Welsh learner.

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