It makes me so proud of our profession to see so many of you, the UK’s brilliant GPs, coming together to learn, share and network. It’s so encouraging that even when our working lives are so pressured, your dedication and commitment shines through.
Yesterday, I opened the conference with my speech about how some tech giants are challenging the traditional model of general practice, and later on I held one of my favourite sessions - ‘Ask the Chair absolutely anything’.
Thank you for your questions, challenges, honesty and good humour. Please rest assured that I will take everything on board and that all the College Officers will continue to do our very best to make sure that we provide you with the best services we possibly can and give you a College to be proud of.
A fantastic programme of speakers and sessions is underway. Yesterday, we heard from the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Jeane Freeman on what the Scottish government is doing to boost GP recruitment and retention, then Bad Science author Ben Goldacre gave an energetic and challenging presentation on the opportunities offered by patient data and how we all need to engage with rapid assessment of innovation.
Today’s highlights included our popular and lively ‘NHS Question Time’ panel with guests including former Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell, RCGP Scotland Chair Carey Lunan, and political commentator Owen Jones.
New English Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock sent us a video message reiterating the GPs are ‘the bedrock’ of the NHS and echoing our mantra that if general practice fails, the entire health service fails. As Owen Jones said, we need ‘deeds not words’ but I do think politicians in all our four nations are listening and taking notice.
If you are here with us in Glasgow, enjoy the rest of your time. If you are unable to be with us, please follow us on Twitter @RCGPAC #RCGPAC. Our media partners GPonline are also recording all the plenary sessions and you can find them here on our conference website so try and take a look.
Thank you for your ongoing support. Talking to you all gives me great hope and optimism for the future. Times are hard right across the NHS but by pulling together we will make sure that general practice thrives, not just survives.
- Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard is Chair of the RCGP