Friday 24 February 2017

Notes from RCGP Council meeting 24 February 2017

Storm Doris notwithstanding, there was a packed agenda. In a departure from tradition, education and innovation items were considered before politics, which allowed for more focus on the former.

Faculty Finance

I asked for some detail relating to the implementation of a change of administrative policy that had caused concern in my Faculty.

Referral management

I welcomed an excellent paper from the ethics committee summarising not only the limitations of referral management but also of the drivers of increased activity and financial pressures that are often blamed unfairly on GPs.

They reached the conclusion, important in my view, that prioritisation should be explicit, even though this is politically unacceptable. This supports my long-held view that, as well as healthcare funding, the electorate must consider the remit of the NHS. I called for College to campaign for prioritisation to be considered explicitly, perhaps as part of the ongoing Put Patients First campaign.

RCGP Clinical Priorities 2017-2020

Council approved the following clinical priorities: cancer (to March 2022); liver disease, mental health, physical activity and lifestyle, and sepsis (to March 2019) as well as a number of 12 month "spotlight projects".

I questioned how the recommendations of each project would be weighed against the five tests of overdiagnosis agreed by Council in 2015. It was agreed that the RCGP Overdiagnosis group would be kept updated on the work of the Clinical Innovation and Research Centre.

Fellowship and beyond

A discussion paper was presented on ideas to improve the uptake of fellowship across the demographic of College members, and College might support continuing professional development for fellows.

I reiterated my view that fellowship should be open to all GPs, including those who are not existing RCGP members. I also expressed concern that a CPD programme might lead to "higher" designations of fellowship, thus devaluing fellowship itself.

*update: I have since joined the FRCGP short life working group seeking to inform policy in this area.