Supporting one another during COVID-19

27 November 2020 

Vaccine discussions

A couple of weeks ago I used this platform to address the emerging news regarding COVID-19 vaccines.

Since then we have more encouraging news about a range of vaccines. We await an announcement from Welsh Government as to the details of how the programme of vaccination will be rolled out.

This week presented an opportunity for Mair and I to raise matters related to the vaccine programme with both the Chief Medical Officer and Welsh Government.

While it is not the place of the College to be directly involved in the negotiations, this was a welcome opportunity to feed in some thoughts from the experience of GPs on the frontline.

Help us make the case for general practice

I want to thank GP practices which have provided us with data on their recent workload. I share your concerns that data used by Welsh Government can be insufficient in telling the full story of how busy we are in general practice. We are now planning our next steps to improve this situation and we are going to need your help to make it a success.

One task you can do right away. Please consider signing your practice up with the RCGP Research and Surveillance CentreA small number of Welsh practices have already done so, but we need many more to join them so that we can get a significant amount of strong data on GP workloads.

There is no cost to joining the network, in fact it is possible to increase practice revenue via research and quality improvement exercises enabled by the data dashboards and eLearning.

Most importantly though you will be part of a big data gathering exercise which will support your colleagues in the profession across Wales.

The second task is that we will shortly be issuing a brief survey looking at workloads and GP wellbeing. More on that project to follow shortly, but when the time comes, please do take part. The more responses we get the more robust the statistics that we have to work with. Watch this space!

Supporting those picking up the pieces

Last week a report was published by Suicide Bereavement UK.

From Grief to Hope (2.3 MB PDF) is based upon the results of a survey of over 7,000 people who had been close to someone who had taken their own life.

The findings of the report focus minds on the need to provide support for family and friends in the aftermath.

The effects on those close to the victim can be long-lasting and it is concerning that high proportions of the respondents did not feel they knew where to turn for support or what services were available.

Each instance of suicide is a tragedy, but it also traumatises those around the individual too.

Reports like this one can help our profession to improve our awareness and understanding of some of these issues..


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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