We mustn’t dismantle effective models of care

4 February 2022

It’s not always easy in the current environment to distinguish between substance and silliness when a story appears in the media. 

The latest kerfuffle surfaced following last week’s article in The Times about ‘the nationalisation of general practice’. It seems the Secretary of State for Health in England wants to encourage a stronger emphasis on prevention in the NHS (good), reduce fragmentation between sectors (excellent) and to focus his attention on solving the crisis in general practice (at last!). Rather less positive, and depending on the veracity of the leak of course, is that he thinks he can achieve these aims by encouraging hospitals to run general practices.

The College response made a hard-headed case for the merits of the independent contractor status. We made it clear that as a College and as a specialty we embrace change. If the government has a model in mind which  - when properly resourced - delivers personalised care for patients, supports clinicians to act as advocates for their patients, is responsive to local context, is flexible and innovative, and which generates the good will which underpins the remarkable value for money of the independent contactor status, then I’m all ears.

I haven’t been shown that model yet and, with respect to our amazing hospitals, I’m far from convinced that they have the answer.

No apologies for returning to my usual theme – we need more clinicians, better support to work effectively in multidisciplinary teams and as part of a wider health and care system, less bureaucracy, modern premises and investment in technology. We can deliver some of this with new models of care but we mustn’t dismantle effective old ones.


Latest updates from your College

U-turn on vaccine mandate

We were pleased to hear on from Secretary of State Sajid Javid in the House of Commons on Monday evening that mandatory Covid-19 vaccination as a condition of employment in the NHS has been postponed pending a further consultation.

The College has been outspoken over recent weeks that this is not the best way forward and would have a significant impact on the general practice workforce and the care we’re able to deliver for patients. We recognise that some people feel uncomfortable about this stance and I want to make clear that our opposition to the vaccine mandate in no way lessens our strong support for the vaccine itself – and we will continue to urge all NHS staff who have not been vaccinated to come forward and get their jabs.

I made my arguments in the Mail on Sunday’s Medical Minefield podcast.

Women's Health Hub

The College has worked with the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), British Menopause Society, Royal College of Nursing, UKHSA and Endometriosis UK to develop a huge range of resources for primary care on all aspects of women's health.

The Hub includes top tips and guidance on reproductive health, menstrual wellbeing, menopause and more to help you optimise the care you provide and support women to make choices about self-care and management.

Access the Hub here.

Solidarity with health professionals in Myanmar

On Tuesday evening, the College’s London headquarters in Euston Square were illuminated in red to mark the first anniversary of the deadly coup in Myanmar. This non-political gesture honoured the 279 health professionals who have been arrested, injured or lost their lives since the coup. It was our small part in a whole day of events organised by Health Partnerships for Myanmar and THET Partnerships for Global Health to focus attention on the catastrophic impact the coup is having on health in the country.

Other medical Royal Colleges and health organisations across the UK took part and the Myanmar diaspora community in the UK held a peaceful demonstration in Parliament Square to raise awareness of the ongoing situation.

The College has a long association with Myanmar and, in unity with our colleagues from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, has been speaking out in strong condemnation of the coup.

Problem Paediatrics, Saturday 26 February 2022, 8:45am to 1pm

Join us for this online half-day conference featuring four presentations with case studies given by expert speakers, with topics including:

  • Pyrexia of unknown origin (PUO), COVID-19 / long COVID in children, breathing difficulties
  • Rashes, abdominal pain, limps, Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Common feeding difficulty, fussy eating, Failure to thrive (FTT)
  • IgE mediated Cows milk allergy (CMA), eczema, asthma, food allergy, eczema and allergic airways management

Register here.


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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