Friday, 22 February 2019

Notes from RCGP Council meeting 22 February 2019

My apologies but family health concerns required me to leave today's Council meeting early. A fellow Council member has kindly agreed to deliver my response to the Rethinking Medicine initiative:

Thank you for presenting the Rethinking Medicine initiative. I'm not sure I fully understand the objective of this movement. Hopefully that is because it has not been predetermined.

If we are to engage with this process, we must as a College prioritise:
1) equity and safety for our patients, so that the ill who rely on the NHS, and those that need drugs and other healthcare technology who rely on doctors are not disadvantaged;
2) the best interests be of our members, lest they are expected to take on responsibility for things for which they have neither proper resource or influence.

Mention is made of the importance of social interventions. No-one doubts this. The key is how to get the necessary social help to those most in need, regardless of whether they have consulted a doctor, without diverting NHS resources away from the ill.

The top priority areas selected by our members are:
1) supporting GPs with workload
2) restoring the status of general practice
3) the interface between primary, secondary and social care.
The partnership review identified rising workload and shrinking workforce as key issues. We have been worrying about the mismatch between capacity and demand for some considerable time.

Medicine, the NHS and general practice need to be very careful about taking on new responsibilities.

Yes, we need to be payient-centred. Yes we need to stop overusing healthcare technology. But we must also be careful not to medicalise other, non-healthcare interventions.

As Clare Gerada said a couple of meetings ago, until such time as we have more doctors than we know what to do with, doctors should do what only doctors can do.

We may need to Rethink Medicine. We also need to Reassert Medicine.

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