Viewpoint: Dr Terry Kemple: Why I should be RCGP president

Why vote? We are in a crisis, says RCGP presidential candidate Dr Terry Kemple.

Dr Kemple: 'RCGP needs to take the lead to save universal access to quality general practice.'
Dr Kemple: 'RCGP needs to take the lead to save universal access to quality general practice.'

More of the same leadership may make the crisis worse. This election is one of the few opportunities you have to influence the leadership of the RCGP, and the future of general practice. If you don't vote you can't expect the RCGP either to become a more democratic organisation or provide the leadership for high quality general practice.

Why vote for Terry Kemple? I don't have any reason to defend or continue the mistakes of the past. I can challenge the current college mindsets and group think. A popular vote for me will give me the democratic mandate to ask the current leadership to prioritise what needs to be done to plan our way out of this crisis.

Does the RCGP have any power? No, but she/he does have the influence that comes from the respect of others, automatic membership of important college and other committees, and the democratic mandate to ask for change.

RCGP needs to take lead to save universal access to quality general practice

Who usually wins the RCGP election? Few (about 15%) members vote so most elections are won by one of the select group of long standing members or officers of college council. Typically a former chair of the council is rewarded with the presidency.

Who is responsible for the current crisis in general practice? No one accepts responsibility for any of the many causes of this crisis.

Who is responsible for planning our survival and recovery from the crisis? No one is taking the responsibility for this planning. The RCGP needs to take the lead to save universal access to quality general practice in the UK. We need to name (and if needed shame) the government and NHS officers who can make success or failure. The authors of empty rhetoric or specific vagueness needs to be identified and exposed.

How do we plan our way out of the crisis? We need to prioritise the following:

1.Reduce unnecessary workload. The RCGP has the authority and evidence base to declare what we can safely stop doing.

2.Increase the GP workforce by ensuring medical schools and the NHS are performance managed to achieve the required number of GPs

3. Find and spread faster the most efficient and effective ways to provide primary care services.

General practice can emerge with increased vigour and be fit for the next generations.

How can democracy in the college be invigorated and improved? Two simple changes may help

1. Only 18 (25%) of up to 70 college council members are elected nationally so introducing a standard election process for all the council members from the faculties and other special groups would improve the democratic process.

2. Limiting the term of office to 6 years for each elected council member would increase the opportunity for new council members by reducing the numbers of very long serving council members.

All other invited experts and attendees would be non-voting observers at the college council.

  • The RCGP presidential election is on 5 May.

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