Reflecting on the work of the College in improving GP recruitment and retention

25 September 2020

I am sure that we are all somewhat fed up of COVID-19, and thoughts of the future are clouded with the current pandemic response and the almost 'war-weariness' that we are experiencing.

Continuing our work on behalf of members

I would hope that the detail in Carey’s blogs over this period have been reassuring of the work that is being done 'behind the scenes' on the profession’s behalf at the College.

While local events and in-person meetings have understandably had to cease, please be assured, there is still a huge amount of activity being undertaken on your behalf.

This includes representing the profession on numerous Scottish Government working groups which have been set up over the past six months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that there is a strong GP voice at the table.

We also of course continue to work closely with our peers and colleagues across the health and care sector to promote the needs of general practice and our patients.

GP Recruitment and Retention Advisory Group

The College in Scotland has a strong history of promoting general practice as a career and in identifying barriers to recruitment and retention and working closely with stakeholders to provide solutions.

Our GP Recruitment and Retention Advisory Group which was formed in 2017 brings key stakeholders together, enabling a comprehensive review of the general practice pipeline from school to university and then the post graduate career choice, as well as exploring factors that influence GP retention.

Having not been able to meet for some time, this group met virtually last week, and it was gratifying that all involved felt that this was an important forum.

By bringing together a wide range of experts in this field, we have a great opportunity to meet the challenge that improving recruitment and retention within general practice poses.

It is great to have such positive energy and enthusiasm about the future of the profession.

In 2019, the Scottish Government published a report by Professor John Gillies on the importance of undergraduate teaching in general practice and primary care.

You will hear more about this work from John next week when he will be our guest blogger. 

Green Impact for Health Toolkit Webinar

Finally this week, I wanted to let you know about a webinar that is being run by RCGP to launch the Green Impact for Health Toolkit.

The event, which will take place between 13:00-14:00 on Friday 2 October will feature interviews with RCGP’s sustainability lead, Dr Terry Kemple, alongside our RCGP Chair Professor Martin Marshall, Richard Smith, Chair of UK Health Alliance on Climate Change and Karen Creffield, Practice Manager at Frome Medical Practice.

The Green Impact for Health Toolkit is a practical and free of charge resource which provides 100 actions that GP practices can take to help them towards environmental sustainability.

Just last week, we heard from Dr Munro Stewart at our meeting of Scottish Council on the issue of sustainability within general practice and I imagine this is an issue which will continue to increase in prominence over the coming years.

See further details and booking information for this webinar.


Post written by

Dr Alasdair Forbes, Deputy Chair (Policy) of RCGP Scotland

Dr Forbes has been a GP partner at his Aberdeen GP practice since 1994, serving the suburban population of north Aberdeen and the rural population of Aberdeenshire.

Alongside working as a GP, and providing a minor surgery service for his patients, Dr Forbes is a lead trainer in his practice and has tutored undergraduate medical school students.

He is passionate about growing and retaining the GP workforce and chairs the College’s Recruitment and Retention Advisory Group. Dr Forbes has been involved with RCGP Scotland for many years, holding a number of positions at local and national board levels.

Dr Forbes also chairs his local Faculty Board in North East Scotland.


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