There have been many in the past week who have commented on Prince Philip's valuable and personal contributions to public life

16 April 2021

A week ago today, the country heard of the death of Prince Philip in his 100th year and after a long life in the public eye. The Duke of Edinburgh was the RCGP’s Royal Patron, and had actively supported the College on a number of occasions, including the official opening of the new headquarters at 30 Euston Square on 26 March 2014. I recall him then being a surprisingly acute listener and astute speaker for a man of his age, and there have been many in the past week who have commented on his valuable and personal contributions to public life - as well as his support for the institution of the monarchy.

Our own personal and professional journeys through loss and grief will make us feel for his family, especially the Queen, and to empathise with them in a year which has brought a greater awareness of the fragility of life to us all.

As a GP, I have also been reflecting on the biography of the Duke - the impact of historical events on his early life, his personal migrations and changes in setting, and the unusual experience for a man of his background of having to lay his own career aside to support the Queen. His life was conducted under constant public scrutiny, which must add to the challenges of fulfilling public duties with dignity and commitment over many years. So we join others in paying our respects to Prince Philip, and can reflect on our own pasts and futures as we acknowledge the end of an important era.

Post written by

Professor Amanda Howe, RCGP President

Amanda Howe qualified as MRCGP in 1983, has worked as a GP since 1984, and currently practices at Bowthorpe Surgery in Norwich. She is also Professor of Primary Care at the University of East Anglia. She has a wealth of experience within RCGP, where she has previously held the positions of Vice Chair of Professional Development and Honorary Secretary. She is a Board member of the East Anglia Faculty and was their Provost 2016-2019. She is also the immediate past President of WONCA - the World Organisation of Family Doctors - in which role she promoted the crucial role of GPs in running effective and efficient health systems.

Amanda has a substantive track record in educational innovation and research, and has led the GP teaching for the Norwich based MB BS since its inception. She is passionate about enhancing training opportunities for medical students and young doctors outside hospital settings to strengthen patient care in community settings. Her research interests include mental health, professionalism and resilience, and effective empowerment of patients and professionals in care, education and research. Her wish as President is to bring her experience to support members, and continue our learning together.

Latest College updates


The PRINCIPLE trial study into early use of budesonide as a possible treatment for COVID reported a really positive result this week, concluding that it shortens the duration by a median three days. 

This is exciting news that will speed up recovery time for patients in the community and enhance the care we’re able to deliver. This success is largely down to high-quality primary care research and the huge contribution of the RCGP Research and Surveillance Centre in providing data.

Credit also to the GP practices who provided support in recruiting patients for the trial and supporting them during their participation.

This week’s announcement is an excellent demonstration of the impact that primary care research can have on everyday general practice. Practices can contribute to future trials by signing up to the RCGP RSC

NHS England has issued a Therapeutic Alert and an Interim Position Statement which offers some helpful guidance on prescribing inhaled budesonide to patients with COVID-19.

New guidance on Primary Care Management of Headache after jab

As the EMA and MHRA highlighted last week, the risk of developing blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine is incredibly low for all patient groups, but we still need to be on the lookout for the rare occasions that a patient will present possible symptoms.

We’ve published new guidance on Primary Care Management of Headache after a COVID-19 vaccination (68.3 KB PDF), outlining the common symptoms of thromboembolism with thrombocytopenia, and suggesting appropriate courses of action.

Ramadan and vaccine guidance

Tuesday marked the start of Ramadan, and it’s important that our Muslim colleagues and patients are able to mark this month of celebration in the safest way possible. 

The British Islamic Medical Association has advised that patients should still receive their COVID-19 vaccinations during Ramadan. NHS England has also produced some useful guidance on how to support vaccination uptake during Ramadan (78.7 KB PDF), including ways to adapt and adjust vaccination delivery and sites to encourage patients in Muslim communities to come forward, as well as how to reduce any barriers to getting a vaccination that patients celebrating Ramadan may face. 

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