Update from Scottish Council

18 September 2020

It was great to see so many colleagues from across Scotland (albeit virtually!) at Scottish Council which took place on Wednesday evening.

As usual, there was full discussion on a wide range of topics. We were pleased to welcome Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of Council and Dr Victoria Tzortiou-Brown, Joint Honorary Secretary to the meeting and we also heard updates from them on the work that they and UK College are focusing on at the moment. 

Victoria updated on research she is involved in concerning the impact of remote consulting on health inequalities and mitigating the risk on vulnerable groups. Martin spoke to us about remote and face to face consultations. The College has been pushing back on the notion of digital consultations by default.

Martin advised that Research Surveillance Centre data has shown that currently 30% of 300,000 appointments in England are being carried out face to face each day.

Although we do not have access to the same data in Scotland, anecdotally we hear from practices that the numbers of face to face appointments are slowly increasing according to clinical need, with the digital/face to face split now up to 50% in some practices.

This issue, and the misleading and damaging press coverage it has received, is likely to be discussed at UK Council on Friday.

New RCGP Scotland Deputy Chair (Policy)

During the first part of the meeting, members had the opportunity to hear from Dr Catriona Morton who was nominated for the role of Deputy Chair (Policy).

I’m delighted to report that Catriona was ratified by Council and will commence her new role in January 2021 following a period of induction and handover from Dr Alasdair Forbes who has been holding the reins for the past three years - thank you, Alasdair!

Catriona has been a GP in Craigmillar for 24 years and a member of the College since she trained. She is a passionate generalist and brings a wealth of clinical and strategic experience to the role.

Sustainability and climate change

We also heard from Dr Munro Stewart from East Scotland Faculty who led a discussion on behalf of the College’s Climate Emergency Advisory Group and the paper they have written: Sustainability and Climate Change; Ten Point Action Plan. This will also be discussed at UK Council this week.

As clinicians and leaders, there are many things we can do to promote the sustainability agenda at an individual, practice, local and national level which in turn, improves health outcomes.

There was a great deal of support for the proposed action plan at Scottish Council and a desire to work alongside our Patient Group, P3.

Redesign of urgent care

There was extensive discussion on the current hot topics of the day:

  • the redesign of urgent care to a 'triage-first' model for those who would ordinarily self-present to ED
  • the commitment to bolster existing COVID-19 community pathways as we move into autumn and winter months
  • the opportunities and challenges presented by digital consulting
  • updates on the work we have been leading around health inequalities
  • the planned work within Scottish Government to support primary care with its increasing mental health workload - more on this to follow.

These are all topics that I have covered in detail in recent blogs, and as always, I hugely appreciated the wisdom and experience that colleagues in Scottish Council bring to these discussions to guide and support us in these fast-paced and challenging times.

Primary care resilience webinar

Finally this week, I wanted to let you know about a webinar which is taking place on Wednesday 23 September from 13:00 - 14:00 on managing long-term conditions in primary care.

This is the latest in a series of Primary Care Resilience WebEx events which have been brought together by RCGP Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and the Scottish Government to facilitate the sharing of learning amongst primary care colleagues throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Executive Officer for Patients and Public, Dr Graham Kramer, will be joining the panel for next week’s event to discuss, in his consistently articulate and insightful way, person-centred care planning approaches.

This is another hot topic, as we try to recover routine GP services safely amidst competing clinical priorities, in a predominantly digital environment.

The webinars are free to join. More information and event registeration is now available. 

We have a number of guest blogs planned over the coming weeks and months to let you hear directly from the many fantastic GPs that are leading on various aspects of crucial work on behalf of RCGP Scotland. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work with such a wonderful group of people.

Post written by

Dr Carey Lunan, Chair RCGP Scotland

Dr Carey Lunan is a GP partner in one of Edinburgh's Deep End practices and is the current Chair of RCGP Scotland.

Prior to this, she held the role of Executive Officer for Patients and Public and Interface working. She also sits on the RCGP Ethics Committee.

Her priorities during her time as Chair include a focus on practitioner wellbeing, improving the interface between primary and secondary care, and growing and retaining the GP workforce.

She has made tackling health inequalities a high priority and has consistently called for the need to engage the public in a national conversation about the realistic role of the modern NHS and the importance of collective social responsibility.

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