Viewpoint - Invest in general practice and build on its strengths

In his latest guest editorial, RCGP Scotland chairman Dr John Gillies reflects on the new Health Act and calls for general practice investment and a commitment to build on its strengths.

RCGP Scotland chairman Dr John Gillies
RCGP Scotland chairman Dr John Gillies

The controversial Health and Social Care Bill was passed last week despite opposition from the RCGP and a host of other royal colleges and health professionals across the UK.

The scale of concern expressed was considerable and we remain concerned about the effect on patient care in England. In Scotland we have our own challenges but we will continue to work with all our partners to provide excellence in patient care now and into the future.

To reinforce this message I, and my fellow chairs of council from Northern Ireland, Wales and England, wrote to health ministers last week to reiterate our ongoing commitment to a UK-wide vision of patient care.

In the letters we called for an ‘investment’ in general practice and a commitment to build on its strengths by:

  • Providing more care in the community.
  • Providing more GPs, spending more time with patients and extending GP
  • Effective GP input into integrating health and social care.
  • Greater involvement of clinicians in decisions about how services are planned.
  • Recognising the value of generalism.
  • Achieving change through working in collaboration across health and social care.

There are undoubtedly tough times ahead, however, with such a strong and committed GP workforce here in Scotland, I am positive about our future.

I recently spoke at the National Rural Practice conference organised by the RCGP Rural Forum and was delighted to meet GPs from remote and rural areas all over the UK from Orkney to Cornwall and including Wales and Northern Ireland.

There was a good mix of stages from First 5 to last 5 and a very positive atmosphere. It is great to see rural practice in such good heart and  I congratulate the Rural Forum for this positive work.






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