Dr Maureen Baker: Reflections on energising primary care at the RCGP annual conference

As we come to an end of an excellent conference here in Harrogate - my last as chair of the college - I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all delegates who have attended, who have discussed, who have challenged.

The theme of the conference this year is Energising Primary Care, and for those of you who have been able to attend, I hope this has been an opportunity for you all to re-energise your practice and your minds. For those of you who haven't been in attendance, I hope you've been able to follow the action through these email bulletins and social media channels using #RCGPAC, and I hope you've found it useful.

One phrase that stands out for me this year from our many excellent speakers was from NHS England director of primary care, Dr Arvind Madan, when he said that whatever happens in general practice, whatever changes or challenges we encounter, we must not lose the magic that happens between GPs and patients in our consultation rooms.

What a great way of putting it – and something that was reiterated on Friday by English health minister, David Mowat, when he recognised that despite a 20% increase in our workload, we still have 85% satisfaction rates for our service.

The minister gave an encouraging speech, backing the principles of the GP Forward View, and telling the conference that we GPs must hold him to account to deliver it as swiftly and effectively as possible.

I'd like to thank all speakers, particularly those who have given plenary speeches, including former college chair and president and now chair of NICE David Haslam and Kate Allatt for sharing her inspirational story of having locked-in syndrome. We look forward to hearing what Sir Sam Everington, Chair of Tower Hamlets CCG has to say later this afternoon.

A conference is only as good as its speakers, sessions and delegates make it, and personally I have found it incredibly stimulating. I hope you have too.

It's been an enormous privilege to lead this college, and address delegates at this conference as chair one final time. Thank you and good luck.

  • Dr Maureen Baker is chair of the RCGP

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