How you can help us to help you in 2021

4 December 2020 

Your College needs you! Next week a survey is going to be issued to all members in Wales.

It is designed to capture a snapshot of your experience of workload and your wellbeing during this challenging year.

I am not happy with the data the Welsh Government cite as an indication of GP workload, but it is not enough to simply point out the flaws in their measurement, we need to demonstrate our case based on data collected from across Wales.

This survey is our attempt to create a databank that will enable Peter and I to make a strong case for general practice in 2021.

It is a short survey and should not take you long to complete, but please do reply when you receive it, every extra response hugely strengthens the hand of our profession when we speak to decision-makers.

Light at the end of the tunnel

We awoke on Wednesday morning to very welcome news.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had authorised the first vaccine as safe and effective on the basis of detailed independent expert review of evidence from large scale clinical trials.

The Pfizer / Biontech vaccine has become the first to receive MHRA clearance in the UK and 40 million doses of the vaccine will shortly be available for delivery across the UK, with Wales getting its allocation based on population.

A public facing statement was made by the Welsh Government which very helpfully explained that people will be sent appointments with details of the location where they will receive the vaccination and that there will be no need for them to apply for or ask GPs or pharmacists for the vaccination.

What I am still keen to hear more details of is how and when GPs and our practice colleagues will be vaccinated.

Also, while it appears that GPs will not be at the forefront of providing vaccinations of the Pfizer / Biontech product, we do not know if that will be the same for the other vaccines which look set to become available shortly. 

There remain many questions and as this digest post goes to press, Peter and I will be asking some of those questions in a meeting with Dr Andrew Goodall, Director General of Health and Social Services/Chief Executive NHS Wales.

We will seek to keep you informed.

However, let us also take a moment to place this week’s news in the context in which it belongs.

When we have heard the word 'unprecedented' during 2020 it has frequently been attached to bad news but development of a vaccine a year after the first case of COVID-19 was identified is unprecedented.

It is a phenomenal achievement by the medical and scientific community.

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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