The role of the GP in tackling inequality

11 September 2020

As we see Caerphilly go into a local lockdown we are once again reminded of the immediate responses that are required to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, it is also important that we keep up the pressure for constructive ideas to solve some of the more structural issues that have been highlighted and accentuated this year.

The College leading the conversation

At the next RCGP Council we will be discussing a paper on the role of the GP in tackling inequalities.

Prior to that we had a short debate on the topic at Welsh Council this week so that I could gauge views ahead of addressing the UK meeting.

Many members spoke positively about the depth and relevance of the policy paper the College had drafted and it definitely sparked a wider conversation which led a couple of members to reference Sir Michael Marmot’s address to our 2019 Conference.

Accentuated by lockdown

While the pandemic might not have taught us much which we did not already know about the inequality which exists in Wales, it did bring the different experiences into stark contrast.

Those who were well connected digitally and those who were not. Those who had access to home-schooling materials and those who did not. Those with gardens and open space nearby and those in shared, small or substandard accommodation.

Joining the dots

Tackling inequality requires a broad range of professionals and community groups to come together.

To that end, I was pleased to see RCGP Cymru Wales engaged in a workshop with the social housing sector earlier this week looking at solutions.

It is encouraging that such joint-working is moving forward.

I’m very interested to see what ideas will come out of the RCGP Council discussion on the topic and then look forward to considering how those innovations can best be incorporated into our work in Wales.

Already, our Senedd election manifesto calls include a strong focus on tackling health inequality.

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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