A new campaign for post-COVID-19 general practice

17 July 2020

This week, the College shared the General Practice in the Post-COVID World report (337 KB PDF) with the Welsh health minister. Next week it will be circulated to all members of the Senedd. It is also being promoted to decision makers across the other nations of the UK.

There will be a lot of voices seeking to shape what the 'new normal' will look like and this timely document, prepared with input from all four nations, gives a clear steer as to what steps can make a tangible difference in general practice.

Of course, the phrase 'post-COVID' has to be approached with some caution.

As the covering letter Peter and I wrote to accompany the report emphasises: "GPs continue to provide routine care as well as working on the frontline in COVID-19 GP-led 'hot sites', triage centres, secondary care settings, and care homes.

The job is far from done for them, and they will now also need to focus on managing the long-term health consequences of COVID-19 in the community".

With this workload, it is important too that government hears clearly the need for protected professional development time and sufficient surgery capacity to not only allow existing GPs scope to operate in a safe and socially-distanced way, but also for the training of the next generation of GPs.

Many organisations will be making big asks of government as we emerge from COVID-19. I believe that our calls fall into that category too, but this report sets out how they can be delivered to the long-term benefit of our patients and our profession.

I don’t think any of us expected to be spending this year coping with the impact of a global pandemic, and I am very aware that you have been managing the increased pressure and anxiety that has faced all of us in the medical profession.

We will need your help

Shortly, you will receive more information on a campaign linked to this report.

We need your help to get this important message to Senedd Members.

Keep an eye on your inbox to find out how you can play your part in getting the voice of our profession heard loud and clear in Wales.

Tentative steps to normality

As lockdown restrictions ease and our patients start to venture out and resume activities, we are hearing that many practices are finding that their workload has increased.

The number of face to face consultations is also increasing but with the added complication of keeping patients and staff safe in the surgery building.

Shielding will end, or 'pause' as Welsh Government cautiously put it, on 16 August. This will be a relief for the many patients, doctors and staff who have been affected.

Many will be concerned about re-engaging with a world that has changed since 23 March. No doubt many will turn to their general practice for advice and support.

The rate of COVID-19 infections has been falling but we cannot be complacent and need to ensure we have robust plans for the autumn and winter.

The flu vaccination programme will be more important than ever this winter and will pose many logistical problems for implementation due to the need for PPE and social distancing.

As we all know, the COVID-19 related challenges in general practice will be with us for some time. I am though encouraged by the way the profession has responded positively to every step of this challenging journey to date.

Post written by

Dr Mair Hopkin, Joint Chair of RCGP Wales

Dr Mair Hopkin qualified in 1980 and was a partner at the Old School Surgery in Pontyclun until 2019. 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 children's 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. She is 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. She is a Welsh learner.

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