Building from nothing? A workforce for the Regional Health Services and rural areas…

Maureen Baker, the Chairman of the RCGP sent around a newsletter last week…

By the time the Roland Commission report is actioned, and makes a difference will we be building from nothing? A workforce for all the Regional Health Services is only possible with deliberate overcapacity and some sort of adverse selection. No mention of the rationing in selection where only 11:2 applicants are accepted to medical school..

Dear colleague,   The long-awaited Roland Commission report into the state of the primary care workforce, which was chaired by Professor Martin Roland of Cambridge University, was released this week and if the recommendations are adopted, it will spell good news for general practice, and our patients.

Particularly welcome is the Commission’s recognition of the severe shortage of GPs and the call to reverse longstanding under-investment in general practice.

The report echoes and supports a lot of the objectives of our Put patients first: Back general practice campaign. It calls for the rapid implementation of the College’s 10-point plan to build the GP workforce, which we launched with NHS England, Health Education England and the BMA earlier this year.

The report also advocates broadening the skill-mix in general practice, something that the College also supports.

We have already secured £15m NHS England funding for a pilot scheme of practice-based pharmacists, an idea we launched jointly with colleagues at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society back in March, and which we know already works in some areas of the country. We now want to see a pilot scheme to see how a new medical assistant role – successful in the US to help relieve the administrative burdens that GPs face in our daily practice – translates to UK general practice.

I understand that ideas about broadening the skill-mix in primary care has led to concerns amongst some of you, so I want to reiterate that this is not about replacing us – that will never happen. If properly piloted, evaluated, and then implemented appropriately, these schemes could provide much-needed support to help us meet intense demand.

New GPs can’t be created overnight and we need to take safe, innovative steps, to make our working lives a bit more manageable, both short-term and long-term.

Another recommendation in the Roland Commission’s report is an emphasis on new models of care, particularly GP federations, which the College pioneered nearly a decade ago now.

We are currently working with the Nuffield Trust to map out where federations and other ‘at-scale’ models of general practice are currently in place, so that we can learn about what works and what doesn’t. Please take a few moments to complete our survey to help shape this important piece of work, being led by Mike Holmes. There are two surveys; one for individuals and the other for Clinical Commissioning Groups.

The Roland Commission report provides further ammunition for us to persuade politicians and decision- makers that backing general practice really is in the best interests of the NHS and our patients, now and in the future.

We must particularly thank Vice Chair Amanda Howe, who sat on the Commission, for her considerable efforts in ensuring that the GP voice has been heard loud and clear.

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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