From protest to progress

26 June 2020

Last Saturday, the RCGP Council met. Every meeting generates interesting discussion, but it is not a surprise that this was a particularly powerful and informative meeting, as we start to emerge from the first wave of COVID-19, and with the outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter campaign.

We are fortunate to live in a society in which we are free to protest. However, with that privilege comes the responsibility to speak up against racial injustice which permeates society.

Hearing members of the College speak with passion about their desire to be a part of the change which needs to happen was hugely powerful.

The next urgent step is that we follow up these sentiments with meaningful action to deliver tangible change.

RCGP action plan

Centrally, the College established a BAME action plan and forum following the President’s listening exercise during 2018/19.

The group has been meeting during the first six months of this year to establish a comprehensive list of short, medium and long-term goals which will guide RCGP's determined efforts to tackle racial inequality in every aspect of general practice.

A commitment in Wales

In Wales this week we saw publication of the report from the BAME COVID-19 Socioeconomic Subgroup which noted that the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Wales' black, Asian and minority ethnic communities is rooted in "entrenched inequalities".

This creates the need to re-evaluate how all in general practice can assure that the needs of BAME colleagues and patients are addressed in just and equitable ways.

This is a topic we will update you on further as the College's work progresses.

Manifesto update

I also wanted to update you on our manifesto asks document which you helped us to produce last year. COVID-19, and the changes we have seen in the profession, forced us to look critically at these aims.

We feel that all the requests we are making to the Welsh political parties remain relevant, but we are in the process of adding a further section directly related to the response to COVID-19.

This includes:

  • electronic prescribing across Wales by mid-2021
  • improved anticipatory care planning
  • protected time for professional and practice development
  • expansion of the Choose Well informative campaign
  • equity of access to good quality IT for GPs and patients
  • protection for workers in all care environments.

This week we had a good discussion with Plaid Cymru Health Spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth about the College's ambitions for the profession.

This follows the College discussing manifesto ideas with Labour earlier this month and an upcoming meeting with the Conservatives. 

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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