Our Autumn edition of GP Frontline is dedicated to you and the fantastic work you've been doing

30 October 2020 

 Digest cartoon

Cartoon by ARGHXSEL, translated into English from German.

GP Frontline - Autumn edition out now

You can now read our member magazine, GP Frontline, online in flipbook form. Mobile-friendly versions of individual stories are also available.

Our Autumn edition is dedicated to you and the fantastic work you’ve been doing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides just a snapshot of general practice’s outstanding response to the crisis, showcasing a number of GP stories from the front line, including:

  • the GP who transformed his practice into a COVID 'hot hub'
  • the foundation doctor and AiT who found themselves in at the deep end
  • the retired GPs who returned to practice
  • the GP who worked at the Nightingale hospital.

It also takes a look at the College’s own response to the pandemic, right across the UK, supporting the profession by developing CPD resources, lobbying government, and media work. RCGP Scotland’s Sigi Joseph details her account of being a BAME GP dealing with a pandemic that disproportionately affects Black Asian and minority ethnic people - and it explores the important work of the RCGP Research and Surveillance Centre in the quest to find treatment for COVID-19.

The front cover says it all: Not all heroes wear capes.

Long COVID developments

We’re really pleased to be working with NICE and its Scottish equivalent SIGN to develop guidelines on how to identify, treat and manage post-COVID syndrome, which has so far been known as Long-COVID.

Today, the scope for the guidance has been published, including a definition. Now that we know what we’re working towards, we can get on with developing the guidance, which is due to be published by the end of the year. You can read the full scope (291 KB PDF) and the press release about it.

We’ve produced this summary (894 KB PDF) of what this development means for you and your teams, with some Top Tips for caring for patients with post-COVID syndrome whilst waiting for the guidance to be published.

Many thanks to Gail Allsopp, clinical lead for policy for leading this work for the College. As well as being heavily involved in the guideline development, Gail sits on NHS England’s task force, which met for the first time this week. The taskforce will advise NHSE on development and implementation of initiatives, such as the forthcoming Your COVID Recovery platform and post-COVID clinics, which the College has called for. It’s vital to have GP representation on the group.

Unacceptable abuse

The unjust criticism that GPs have been receiving from some politicians and some sections of the media of late came to a head this week when colleagues in Bristol arrived at their practice on Monday morning to find abusive graffiti sprayed on its premises.

This is completely unacceptable. No one should have to go through what the GPs and their team in Bristol experienced. It is toxic and ignorant, and we mustn’t stand for it.

As such, we will continue to defend the profession in the media and elsewhere to support you in helping our patients understand why GPs have changed the ways we are currently working - and to ensure that everyone is aware of just how hard you are all working across the UK, in incredibly difficult circumstances.

In conversation with the Royal Society of Medicine

On Wednesday I took part in the Royal Society of Medicine’s COVID-19 webinar series where I discussed the pandemic response from a general practice perspective.

It was a wide-ranging discussion with RSM President Prof Roger Kirby, where I touched on the challenges of delivering consultations remotely, how general practice and local public health teams have been under-utilised in terms of Test, Trace and Isolate, and how general practice, if resourced properly, could play an important role in any forthcoming COVID vaccination programme.

I also mentioned that in retrospect the 'protect the NHS' messaging we heard at the start of the pandemic might not have been helpful, as it put patients off seeking care when they needed it, and we’re now dealing with the repercussions. This was picked up The Telegraph, The Times and Press Association. You can watch the full webinar back.

Antidepressant withdrawal resources

Managing the withdrawal of anti-depressants is a complex task for GPs, involving a huge amount of clinical skill and judgement. We’ve endorsed this guidance on stopping antidepressants for patients, developed by colleagues at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which has recently been updated.

RCPsych have also produced this podcast, featuring former President Prof Wendy Burn, looking into the issue, which you may find interesting and useful.

Cameron Fund - Christmas appeal

COVID-19 has been a difficult time for us all, but it has impacted on some more than others, and GPs are not exempt. The Cameron Fund, which the RCGP has long supported, offers help to GPs and their families who, for whatever reason, find themselves in financial difficulty.

Every year, they have a Christmas Appeal. Find out more and donate.


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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