Spring update from RCGP in North England

Welcome to the latest updates from RCGP groups and members based in North England.

Message from the National First5 Lead

Spring – the season of daffodils, arctic blasts and QoF!

This time of the year is always busy for general practice, when we usually come out of winter pressures and make our final push to submit taxes, pension forms and update our indicators for the next financial year. This year things feel a lot more unsettled. Workload is high; junior doctors, nurses, paramedics and much of the public sector are on strike; and the paperwork seems endless. Sometimes it can all seem overwhelming, like you don’t know which direction to take next – and it can feel like you’re not achieving the goals you’d hoped to.

Sources of support

There are services out there to help you make sense of all of this, and support you in achieving job satisfaction - and the majority are free to GPs.

The College offers a mentoring service, where members can support one another in their career growth and development by speaking to like-minded people. They also have a very useful wellbeing page with links to other sources of support.

Local LMCs in our area offer both professional and personal coaching and mentoring for up to eight hours across 12 months.

I’d also recommend taking a look at the new Next Generation GP Programme, for GP trainees and early career GPs (first 5-7 years) with an interest in driving change, health policy, and the wider NHS. You’ll hear from inspirational speakers and meet like-minded colleagues.

Take care, and as always, please do get in touch if you’ve got any suggestions for First5 events you’d like to see in our area.

Dr Emma Wong

Update from a Registered Nurse

General practice nursing has often been looked upon as an easy option, providing regular working hours for nurses without them having to work nights or weekends. The truth is, working in general practice is a role like no other - we play a major part in the provision of primary care. General Practice Nurses (GPNs) have a huge scope of practice and expertise, literally caring for patients from cradle to grave. 

Being employed by individual GP surgeries means terms and conditions can vary greatly for GPNs, often looking very different from their counterparts in NHS trusts. Hierarchical structures within general practice can make GPNs feel like they don’t have a voice. 

Just over twelve months ago I was given the chance to become a member of the RCGP Yorkshire Faculty. Being a naturally chatty and inquisitive person I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I am a great believer that general practice requires teamwork, and as such, it needs all areas of staffing to contribute. 

Being part of the RCGP faculty has given me a bigger perspective on general practice as a whole. I've always felt welcome at meetings, and listened to when I have contributed to discussions. During the sessions, I have never been treated differently being the only nurse on the course. 

I'm currently taking part in a ‘future of general practice’ leadership course run by the faculty. I am glad to be working towards a future where the hard work and variety of all staff within general practice is equally represented.

About the writers

Dr Emma Wong is National First5 Lead, SYNT First5 Lead, and SYNT Honorary Secretary. Email Emma.

Ruth Colbeck has been a Registered Nurse for over 30 years, working in general practice for almost 17 years.