Revisiting our manifesto calls in light of COVID-19

4 September 2020

Back in February we were really pleased with where we had got to with our manifesto calls ahead of the Senedd election.

Designed and printed, we were ready to get the message out. At that stage we were looking at what was emerging from Wuhan but had no idea of the extent of the changes we were about to face.

Overnight, our manifesto for an election 15 months away, was lacking reference to a once in a hundred-year pandemic that had changed the world around us.

As the response to COVID-19 began to stabilise we reviewed the manifesto calls document, testing whether each call remained relevant in this new era.

The conclusion was that everything in the existing document was still a priority, but clearly there was a need to reflect the current circumstances and expand our range of calls. 

Pandemic priorities

As such, we added an additional page focused on pandemic priorities.

In some instances, we felt that this made the case even stronger for some long-called for improvements such as e-prescribing and protection for the wellbeing of GPs and their teams.

There were also issues which had come to the fore directly due to the pandemic, such as the need to improve anticipatory care planning.

Also included is the need for the protection of professional development time for GPs and their teams and we think that the public will need a supercharged reboot of the Choose Well campaign as they navigate the new normal of the NHS. Responding to the inequalities which have been accentuated during the pandemic is a further call.

This week the updated manifesto calls have been sent to the health spokespeople in Wales for Labour, Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Brexit Party.

Meetings have been agreed to discuss these ideas further and we are partaking in policy roundtable events with the three largest parties.

The campaign ahead

Our manifesto calls campaign work is not quite what we envisaged when work on the document began, but over the coming months we will be highlighting aspects of our calls so that whomever forms the next Welsh Government, they will be hearing the voice of general practice loud and clear.

Dr David Wood MBE

I must end this week’s blog on a sombre note.

Many of you will be aware that the profession lost Dr David Wood recently.

David, known as 'Woody' to those close to him, was an Associate Dean for Cardiff University and was the driving force behind a project to bring Liverpool medical students into North Wales.

He was closely involved with the RCGP, serving on both Welsh and UK Councils, and past Chair of our North Wales Faculty.

Despite a diagnosis of inoperable carcinoma of the oesophagus in December 2018, he continued to work through palliative chemotherapy until forced to self-isolate in March. Sadly, he did succumb to COVID-19.

I consider myself fortunate to have counted David as a friend and guide. My thoughts, and I am sure all of those of our members, are with his family and friends.

Thank you, David, for your service to general practice and to RCGP. 


Post written by

Professor Peter Saul, Joint Chair of RCGP Wales

Professor Peter Saul qualified in 1985 and currently is a partner in Rhosllanerchrugog near Wrexham. He combines his work in the practice with his other professional passion of medical education, in the role of Associate Postgraduate Dean in the Wales Deanery. He also works one session a week running the Paediatric Allergy Clinic at Chester Hospital.

Peter has been an active member of his local RCGP faculty, serving as Chair and as Treasurer. He is also actively involved with the media, with a medical column in the local newspaper and as a regular radio contributor.

For fun he rides a bike (his favourite being his red Brompton), and when in need of a loftier perspective he flies his part owned light aircraft from Welshpool Airport. He lives on a smallholding and has three grown up children, one of whom is a junior doctor in London.

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