What you do for patients is amazing - Professor Clare Gerada

I have bittersweet emotions writing this, as it is my last column for GP as RCGP chairwoman.

But I am proud of what we have achieved over the past three years, both as a college and as a profession.

When I took the helm, I made five pledges. First, to support general practice and be a champion for hardworking GPs. I hope our campaign to get more resources into general practice has been telling it how it is for the thousands of GPs juggling spiralling workloads and dwindling budgets.

Second, I vowed to promote the role of the generalist. During my tenure, the college has produced the groundbreaking Commission on Generalism, promoting the important role of the 'expert medical generalist' in the NHS. The 2022 GP: A Vision for General Practice in the future NHS gave us all a goal to work towards.

Third, I pledged to support the next generation of GPs. I'm delighted that since its launch in 2010, the college's First5 membership has supported new GPs. We've also expanded the number of associates in training on council.

I also made a commitment to address health inequalities by looking at ways of improving the health of the most marginalised patients, such as refugees, asylum seekers and drug users. This is a tough one, but we're making progress. We will soon publish a major report to advise GPs on this.

Finally, I took on the college's existing campaign to ensure extended and enhanced GP training. While the length of GP training has remained the same, general practice continues to become more complex and demanding.

I cannot tell you what an honour and privilege it has been to serve as chairwoman and to be at the helm of the most fantastic profession in the world. I can't believe how quickly it has flown by and I would do it again in a heartbeat, but it's reassuring to know that I leave the college in the safe hands of my brilliant successor, Dr Maureen Baker.

Thank you for the support, kindness, warmth - and honesty - you have shown me. What you do on a daily basis for your patients is nothing short of amazing and I am so proud to have had the chance to represent college members and the wider profession. Goodbye and good luck.

  • Professor Gerada is a GP in London

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