On Call to a Nation

4 June 2021

Knowing how busy we all are, I try to keep Just Sayings short and sharp. So why would I suggest you spend an hour watching this video?

The link was sent to me by my friend and south London GP, David Mummery. It’s a documentary made by the BBC in 1958 to celebrate the first 10 years of the NHS. Sometimes it’s so painfully of-its-time that I thought it was a spoof, but it isn’t. Whether you’re a student of history or not, it’s a compelling watch.

So, set aside some time, make yourself a drink and watch where our speciality has come from. You’ll be reminded that many of the joys (our proximity to our patients’ lives) and challenges (being undervalued and inadequately supported) that we now face are enduring ones.


Latest College updates

GP data

There has been a lot of debate and media coverage around the GP Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) programme over the past week. Last week we told you that we had written to NHS Digital, pushing them to communicate better with the public about this new collection. An appropriate level of communication has not yet begun and time is now running out before the 23 June deadline for patients to register Type 1 opt-outs. Today, we have escalated our concerns by writing to Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling for an immediate delay to the programme in order to allow time for a proper public information campaign and for patients to make informed decisions about the use of their data, including the right to opt out.

We’ve set out previously that the College supports the principle of improved and more secure sharing of data for legitimate healthcare planning and research purposes, but we’ve also been clear that it is critical that appropriate safeguards are in place to guard against any inappropriate uses of this data. Most importantly, any sharing of data must be transparent and maintain public trust in how general practice and the NHS more widely uses their information.

We have also reiterated that at this time of extreme workload pressures, as well as the focus on the COVID-19 vaccination programme, it must not be left to GPs to communicate with patients, but that this must be done by NHS Digital and thoroughly.

PRINCIPLE hits 5000 mark

The nationwide clinical study PRINCIPLE has now recruited over 5000 participants, making it the largest community-based platform researching treatments for COVID-19 in the world!

Using the network of practices that are part of the RCGP-Oxford Research and Surveillance Centre, PRINCIPLE is leading the way in finding the best medicines to treat cases of COVID-19 in the community. Find out more about the latest findings and trial news.

Well done to Simon de Lusignan, Richard Hobbs, Nick Thomas and the entire team for their continued commitment and dedication to this work - and to all the GP practice teams that are making it possible.

England’s first ever Women’s Health Strategy

The deadline for the government’s call for evidence on England’s first ever Women’s Health Strategy is fast approaching. The RCGP will be submitting a response ahead of the deadline on 13 June if you would like to respond individually. Find out more.

Inequalities in Health Alliance - call for case studies

As part of our membership of the Inequalities in Health Alliance, we are collecting case studies that illustrate the effect inequalities have on health. We are specifically looking for examples where patients have developed health conditions and a non-health factor has been a key contributory cause. If you have any examples that might be relevant, please let us know.

Applications now open for Clinical Research Awards 2021

Offered by RCGP Scientific Foundation Board and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network, these awards are open to RCGP members and recognise research active NHS GPs and general practices that are demonstrating excellence and innovation in delivering NIHR research. More information.

Healthy Weight Management Workshop

Join us on 30 June for a discussion on healthy weight management services. Following the government’s recent announcement to invest £100m into HWM, we want to hear your views on what support or other changes are needed to increase referrals from primary care into weight management services and to support long-term patient engagement with these services. Please contact innovation@rcgp.org.uk by 23 June if you’re interested in joining.

Become a primary care leader

We've partnered with London South Bank University and Modality to offer a leadership programme that provides the practical knowledge, understanding and skills required for leading primary care at an executive level. The Leading Primary Care programme is designed to develop effective leaders in general practice and PCN working.

National Volunteers' Week

College President Amanda Howe shares a special thank you message to all our members who have volunteered their time over the last year to support our work. 


Post written by

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of RCGP Council

Professor Martin Marshall is Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners and a GP in Newham, East London. He is also Professor of Healthcare Improvement at UCL in the Department of Primary Care and Population Health. Previously he was Programme Director for Population Health and Primary Care at UCLPartners (2014-2019), Director of Research & Development at the Health Foundation (2007-2012), Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England and Director General in the Department of Health (2006-2007), Professor of General Practice at the University of Manchester (2000-2006) and a Harkness Fellow in Healthcare Policy. 

He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London and of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine and was a non-executive director of the Care Quality Commission until 2012. He has advised governments in Singapore, Egypt, Canada and New Zealand, has over 230 publications in the field of quality improvement and health service redesign and his primary academic interest is in maximising the impact of research on practice. In 2005 he was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for Services to Health Care. 

A co-founder and driving force of the Rethinking Medicine movement, Martin has a passionate commitment to the values of the NHS, patient care and ensuring the GP voice is central in a time of great change. When he’s not working, he likes being outside, preferably on a mountain or a coastal path with his wife Sue and their puppy. 

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