Medical generalism

The RCGP, in partnership with the Health Foundation, has been taking forward a major piece of work examining the vital role of medical generalism in today’s healthcare system.

Medical generalism - impact report May 2013

The Commission on Generalism was launched by RCGP in partnership with the Health Foundation in 2011. With the aim of establishing a better understanding what medical generalism is. What it can deliver for patients, and how it should develop in future. As a result of this initiative a great deal of new evidence has been collected and two landmark reports have been published. The findings of this project have informed and inspired a number of other initiatives, both large and small. They have also been debated widely by experts, patients, politicians and clinicians alike.

We've published an impact report describing what the Commission on Generalism and subsequent work led by RCGP has achieved to date. This report marks the formal end of the project, but its findings will continue to be taken forward though a number of workstreams within the College.

Medical generalism: Why expertise in whole person medicine matters

In June 2012 the RCGP published a landmark report on the contribution made by medical generalists - 'experts in whole person medicine' - to the safe and effective care of patients in today's NHS.

The report describes how medical generalists provide care that is both focused on individual wellbeing and delivers wider benefits, helping to ensure that the NHS remains one of the most cost-effective health systems in the world. The RCGP calls for general practitioners to be given more support to protect and enhance their vital role, including longer training; more time with patients; better access to diagnostics and better communication with specialists.

The report is the RCGP’s formal response to the findings of the independent Commission on Generalism. It outlines the College’s overall position on the future of medical generalism, explores the challenges raised in the Commission’s report and proposes a programme of work to address issues such as continuity and access.

The RCGP has identified ten priority areas which aim to review the disciplines of General Practitioners and other medical generalists. From different perspectives and ensure they are equipped to meet the changing needs of their patients:

  • Effective use of patient feedback
  • Policy on out of hours care
  • Development of generalist models of care for complex and chronic conditions in the community
  • Improved communication between GPs and specialists
  • Extended training for GPs
  • Enhanced training in paediatric care, learning disabilities, mental health, palliative and end of life care
  • GP-led commissioning
  • Further research into multiple morbidities and early, accurate diagnosis in primary care
  • Use of IT, data sharing and inter-agency e-communications
  • Nursing home care.

The Independent Commission on Generalism was established by the RCGP. In partnership with the Health Foundation in March 2011. To examine the contribution and role of General Practitioners and generalists in the healthcare system.

Chaired by Baroness Ilora Finlay, the Commission found that overall, generalists and GPs were so important in the NHS that "if they did not currently exist, they would have to be invented".