Ten ways for GPs to make next year a better year - because misery is optional

The 2016 RCGP Annual Conference, with the theme of Energising Primary Care, ended with ten challenges from college president Dr Terry Kemple to help GPs to make next year a better year.

Here Dr Kemple recaps on his ten points, from taking control and having fun, to saving the planet and changing the paradigm of general practice. You can also watch the full video of his speech to the conference in Harrogate.

1 Improve your own wellbeing

The New Economics Foundation suggests there are five key activities we should all do to cultivate our wellbeing. These are: 

  • Giving – be nice to someone

  • Taking Notice - of one good thing that happened today

  • Connecting - with your colleagues

  • Keeping active - stay fit and healthy

  • Keep learning – try something new

Each one makes sense, and giving the opposite advice makes no sense. Just try it! You can find more information here: www.fivewaystowellbeing.org or download the attached PDF.

2 Save the planet

The RCGP has launched the Green Impact for Health toolkit and award. It’s free and easy to use. This has been developed by the RCGP, National Union of Students, the University of Bristol, and NHS Health Education England, with input from GPs, GP trainees and medical students, to make it easier for general practices to improve their overall sustainability.

You can view the toolkit www.greenimpact.org.uk/giforhealth and log in using the user name email ‘gifh@greenimpact.org.uk’ and the password ‘testtoolkit’. If you would like to find out more, then either register on the toolkit or contact kim.croasdale@nus.org.uk.

3 Change the paradigm of general practice

Specialists usually enjoy higher regard than generalists so we must change from disease generalists who have some knowledge of most diseases, to expert medical generalists - the patient specialists who understand the importance of everything that affects a patient.

4 Make more use of your local RCGP Faculty

We all need to be part of an effective professional network. Help make your local RCGP faculty become the ‘go-to’ place for your support, knowledge and inspiration, and make sure you get the best out of your college.

5 Nominate yourself or others for Fellowship of the RCGP

The process is online via our website and fairly easy to navigate. Roughly 14% of eligible members are fellows, and only 25% of fellows are women. Members who have Indian, Pakistani, Asian, Chinese and African ethnicity are also under-represented as fellows. When you document what you have achieved in your career, it’s usually a rewarding experience.

6 Contribute to the knowledge base in general practice that informs our work

It's good evidence of benefit that makes for better general practice and care of our patients. One easy example in England is to register at www.cruk.org/ncda for the RCGP CRUK Macmillan PHE National Cancer Diagnosis Audit, September – November 2016.

It’s already populated with our patients diagnosed with cancer since 2014. It takes 15 minutes to add your primary care data about your patient. This will provide reports and feedback to you in 2017. That's just one example but all four nations have active primary care research organisations that you can help by hosting their research.

7 Recruit one new person to general practice

Be a positive role model. Often it’s not what we say it’s how we make others feel that’s important. There are lots of reasons why individuals want to be GPs but positive and negative role models make a big difference.

8 Support the RCGP development funds

Every year our International Development Fund supports projects in the developing world. Each year we target a special cause for the year. This year it’s for our Student Development Fund and it aims to help medical students and junior doctors encourage students to take up careers in general practice. Sign up for events like our Three Peaks Challenge to raise funds next year.

9 Take control of your career

Think about where you want to be in 10 years and how you are going to get there. General practice is changing but we need to know what’s important and what must be preserved going forward.

10 Have fun every day

Remember that death is inevitable but misery is optional. Don’t always be an optimist - you’ll be disappointed. Don’t be a pessimist - you’ll be miserable. Just always be hopeful.

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