A Highland GP on life the universe and anything…

Celebrations

Dr Sue Farrar

Dr Sue Farrar

On Friday 17th April 2015 RCGP Scotland had the pleasure of holding a new members and fellows ceremony and also an awards ceremony for the RCGP Scotland Alistair Donald Award, RCGP Scotland GP of the year and the RCGP Fraser Rose Medal.

The RCGP Scotland GP of the year was won by Dr Sue Farrar.

The RCGP Scotland Alastair Donald Award by Dr Jane Bruce.

Dr Jane Bruce

Dr Jane Bruce

Prof Ryuki Kassai

Prof. Ryuki Kassai

Fellows were represented from faculties across the country and across the world. We were delighted to present Prof. Ryuki Kassai, of the University of Fukushima, Japan with his fellowship.

Drs Kate Dawson & Louise Scott

Drs Kate Dawson & Louise Scott

My address is here: –

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to our college for this celebration of achievement.  We have members and fellows here today from Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Wales across the world.

I am delighted that we have the opportunity to celebrate 3 important milestones in our careers: membership, fellowship and individual award winners.

I know how hard the new members have worked to get here today. Not only to get into medical school and qualify but also to take on what must be one of the most demanding specialty curricula and exams. However I am confident your endeavour will have equipped you well to start your career as independent practitioners. I hope that now you have completed specialty training, you will see the college in a much wider context than just the AKT, CSA , workplace based assessment and wrestling with the ePortfolio! We have a great deal to offer you.

The college is a membership organisation; it exists to ensure we are all the best GPs we can be for our patients: setting standards, encouraging innovation and providing education and leadership.

It is for these attributes that the new Fellows are being recognised here today. I hope the process of fellowship has given you an opportunity for a reflective pause in your career and us a chance to appreciate and celebrate what you have have reached out to do for your patients and for our profession.

The College was created in 1952, giving a clear identity for general practice across the UK. Scotland has played a significant part. The first Professor of General Practice, worldwide, was Richard Scott, appointed here in Edinburgh in 1963, and the first vocational training schemes were pioneered in Inverness some years later. It was RCGP Scotland who originated the Quality Practice Award in 1995 and it is from my predecessor, John Gillies, that we take the Essence of General Practice. We are supporting the work of the “GPs at the Deep End” group who have been hugely influential in raising issues of health inequalities and at the other end of the spectrum leading policy on Remote and Rural practice. In fact, today Dr Gillies and Dr David Hogg of Arran are speaking at the WONCA Rural conference in Dubrovnik, presenting our work.

I know that the values of general practice have remained constant since 1952 but by necessity we have adapted our work to a changing environment. Patients are living longer. In the next 5 years the population between the ages of 70-75 will increase by 21%. And patients now live with multiple long term conditions. Scottish research shows on average people have 2 or more long term conditions by the age of 65, increasing to 3 or more at 75 years. The NHS England Five Year Forward View and Scottish 2020 Vision both call for integration of services and for radical changes to the way care is delivered. General practice will be key to making these changes.

We face difficulties meeting these challenges. Scottish GPs now see 24m patient contacts per year, 11% more than 10 years ago. At the same time, funding for general practice has fallen from 9.8 to 7.8% of the NHS Scotland budget and recruitment is static. The widening funding gulf & increasing workload are proven disincentives for doctors to choose our specialty.

RCGP Scotland has 3 priorities: –

  • Firstly, we will continue to campaign [i] for recognition of the role of general practice and for fair resources to build our workforce and capacity to do our work.
  • Secondly, we will work for new quality and governance structures, recognising the need to audit our care, but moving to a more nuanced measure of the care we give. We propose a system that is peer based and values driven. Where clusters of practices define the values they aspire to and then undertake audit and quality improvement to demonstrate their practice is congruent with those values.
  • Thirdly, we will work to ensure general practice is valued as the central hub of the NHS. Our interface with others is essential for good patient care and the functioning of the NHS. We will work to improve not only the mechanisms for us to get clinical decision support from our hospital colleagues, but also the way others in the community access our assistance.

Writing in the BMJ recently, Glasgow GP Dr Margaret McCartney wrote[ii]: –

General practice encompasses health and sickness, benefit and harm, living and dying. You are a prescriber, diagnostician, and font of evidence—but also an advocate and avoider of medical harm. You get things wrong sometimes, as everyone does. But you also have days when your heart sings.”

When we leave here we all have the opportunity to contribute to the future of general practice. Our college is uniquely placed to help. Please consider this: –

  • What might that look like for you?
  • How can you make the college a good fit for your career?
  • Is there a local First5 group?
  • Can you offer help with representation with other stakeholders?
  • Can you contribute to consultations on policy issues?
  • Can you get involved in the activities of your local faculty or at a national level?
  • Will you lead the college in the future?

I trust you will. Thank you.Princess St Gdns April 2015

[i] http://www.rcgp.org.uk/campaign-home.aspx

[ii] Margaret McCartney: General practice is still the best job in the world BMJ 2015;350:h1721 http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h1721

A grat day in a great venue and I hope one that we can repeat in future years.

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