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Independents' Day

Dr John Rawlinson

Dr Rawlinson is the newly elected GPC regional representative for Berkshire and north-east Hampshire

Dr Rawlinson is the newly elected GPC regional representative for Berkshire and north-east Hampshire

What is your key role as a GPC representative?

My role is to represent GPs working in Berkshire and north-east Hampshire – to relay their hopes and fears and keep them informed of what's going on.

Has the importance of the role been heightened by recent battles?

The role is particularly important at the moment in light of the continuing relationship between general practice and the Government.

What are the key issues currently dominating the agenda?

Extended hours – that's certainly the priority locally.

Do you think the Government remains committed to PBC?

It seems committed when you read interviews with people such as DH commissioning chief Mark Britnell, but when it comes to PCTs, there is so much bureaucracy that it's not as easy as one would hope to redesign service pathways.

Another issue is out-of-hours responsibility, and whether that should be handed back to GPs. Also what the role of PBC is.

Does general practice have to adapt to survive?

I think general practice has always been very good at adapting to change – you only have to look at the progress since the NHS was first instigated, when GPs tended to be all working alone without a practice team. I'm sure we'll be up to the challenge.

Can GPs compete with polyclinics?

It is difficult to say. Locally, the satisfaction with service is generally excellent, but whether views will change when there is a provider open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, I'm not sure.

If you were health secretary for a day, what would you do?

I'd look at making the NHS run by an independent body rather than by politicians. I'd like to see it being a stable structure to allow some real work to be achieved rather than the continuous reorganisation we've had over the past few years.

I'd also like to see the workforce being valued for the work it does.

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