Dr Maureen Baker: Share your bright ideas to save general practice

The RCGP has launched a new 'Bright Ideas' portal, where GPs can share examples of innovative work, explains the college's chair.

General practice is changing – and it will keep changing as the health service and our patients’ needs evolve.

We know the traditional 10-minute consultation is increasingly unfit for purpose, when the number of our patients who are presenting with multiple morbidities is soaring.

Recent analysis by the RCGP shows that over the next decade, there will be over 1m more patients living with potentially life-threatening diseases.

With the smallest share of the NHS budget going to general practice, a chronic shortage of GPs, and increasingly complex workloads, we need to think differently - and innovation is crucial if we are to continue to improve the care we give to our patients.

Everything that has ever been invented, every medical breakthrough that has been achieved, is because someone, somewhere, wanted to make a difference.

Finding the energy to innovate

But at a time when we are facing unprecedented pressures in the ‘day job’ of delivering frontline patient care, where do we find the time or, indeed, the energy to be ‘innovative’?

Great ideas to revolutionise general practice are more likely to result from trying to make our daily lives in surgery simpler and more effective – that ‘lightbulb’ moment rather than the ‘Eureka’ effect.

This is why the college is introducing a new initiative to support practice teams in sharing your ‘bright ideas’ more widely across general practice.

We have developed a ‘Bright ideas’ portal, where GPs and primary care colleagues can post examples of the innovative work you are doing. All contributions are welcome – no matter how small or simple they may be.

Some ideas don’t work and we would also like to hear any experiences of where things didn’t quite go to plan and why.

Imagine how dull it would be if everyone in general practice thought in exactly the same way and we all agreed with each other.

New ways of doing things

By trying out new ways of doing things, we might generate fresh ideas that we wouldn’t have come up with otherwise.

We’ve already received several examples of ‘Bright Ideas’ and you can read more about these on our website.

Dr Rob Lawson writes about ‘shared’ medical appointments; Dr David Rees gives his thoughts on improving osteoporosis assessment follow-ups, and Dr David Unwin has sent in a contribution on weight loss for Type II diabetic patients.

If you have a ‘Bright Idea’ that you would like to share, please send us a short piece (500-1000 words) on your experience. Images and links to webpages and journal articles which proviade more background information will also be accepted but peer review is not a pre-requisite for having your idea posted onto our site.

While we might not be able to change the world, we can change our part of it  - and help other GPs and their teams in the process.

Please email CIRC@rcgp.org.uk to submit your Bright Idea or for more information.

  • Dr Baker is a GP in Lincolnshire and chair of the RCGP

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