Catriona Morton

The Royal College of GPs has provided a strong and welcome lead for our profession, particularly round issues of quality, education, core values, and maintaining and developing our vision and standards. However, General Practice is now under threat - sometimes even attack - and we have to find new ways to marry our long-term vision of delivering quality holistic care (supported with the necessary tools and resource) - with what is increasingly our experience - of rising demands and workload, managed by an over-worked and stressed GP workforce. Many of our NHS systems are intransigent, barely fit for purpose and often fail to demonstrate an understanding of General Practice.

For the past five years I have been Chair of Lothian LMC and GP Sub-Committee: this has given me practical experience of collaborating with others with the aim of protecting and sustaining GPs and General Practice. The GP Sub-Committee role is wider, and requires working with many disciplines, supporting practice provision, challenging NHS systems where needed and contributing to the health debate in many clinical areas. I am a member of the Scottish GP Committee, and was part of both the 2004 and our current contract discussions, and would hope these wider perspectives would allow me to contribute in a pragmatic and constructive way to the College, with its separate and distinct role.

I have worked as a GP partner in Craigmillar, Edinburgh, for just over two decades and my everyday practice has consolidated my belief in the overwhelming value of practices and GPs. I am on the 'GPs at the Deep End' steering group: the 'Deep End' focus is on adequate Primary Care provision and continuity of care as a means of addressing health inequalities, approaches which I maintain benefit all General Practice and our patients.

General Practice is in great difficulty, but remains a wonderful, inspiring and necessary profession. We need to retain our sense of ourselves, our quality and vision, and our position at the very core of the NHS, on which all else depends. I believe that the College has a crucial and growing role in working for the right approaches, but has to be better at reflecting the realities of GP colleagues and practices at grassroots level, where most of us are struggling. Our generalist strengths must be seen as the solution, but in realistic and sustainable ways, which may require some different approaches from our College too.

I have always worked very hard in the representational roles I have had, and should I be elected would hope to bring that energy and commitment to this one. My passion is General Practice, and the future of the health service, and I would uphold that the College in Scotland is crucial to both.

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