RCGP ambassadors to demand GP involvement in regional NHS plans

The RCGP has appointed regional ambassadors across England to ensure that sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) that will shape local NHS services are drawn up in GPs' best interests.

RCGP headquarters in Euston Square, London
RCGP headquarters in Euston Square, London

STPs are being drawn up in each of 44 'footprint' areas across England, and will define how local areas will improve health and wellbeing for the population, improve service quality and deliver financial stability and balance.

LMC leaders have warned that grassroots GPs are being ignored as STPs are drawn up, with GPs in CCG roles rather than those working solely as providers being consulted.

The RCGP says it is 'absolutely vital' that general practice is represented on each of the recently created STP programme boards.

A total of 29 frontline GP ambassadors appointed by the RCGP - with a handful of further appointments expected - will aim to ensure that proposals outlined in NHS England’s GP Forward View 'are implemented in the best interests of general practice and patient care'.

GP funding

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said: 'The GP Forward View is a lifeline for general practice, at a time when our profession is struggling with increasing patient demand, decreasing resources and not enough GPs and practice staff. But there is now a huge amount of work to do to ensure that the ambitions set out in the GP Forward View are delivered.

'Much of this work will take place at a local level, and so it is vital that STPs have a strong local GP voice on their boards linking them directly to primary care. The new network of regional ambassadors will offer an informed GP perspective; something that is all too often overlooked.'

Dr Kirsty Baldwin, regional ambassador and a salaried inner-city GP in Leeds said: 'We are all frontline GPs, and as ambassadors we will be making the most of our local expertise to ensure that the promises in the GP Forward View are delivered and the effects are felt on the ground.'

Dr Gary Howsam, regional ambassador and a GP partner in Cambridgeshire said: 'Engagement with STPs is our best chance to influence the flow of money into our practices and it is critical that grassroots GPs are involved in that process.'

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