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‘Things will get better’, Professor Martin Marshall tells GPs in farewell speech

‘Things will get better’, Professor Martin Marshall tells GPs in farewell speech

Outgoing RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall has said he is ‘confident’ that ‘things will get better’ in a message of hope to the profession.

Professor Marshall stepped down as chair of the RCGP on Friday after three years and is succeeded by Professor Kamila Hawthorne, who was elected into the role in July.

In his farewell speech at the RCGP’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Friday, Professor Marshall said that the College will work to make the profession ‘manageable, stimulating and fulfilling once again’.

He said: ‘We will work to make the job of a being a GP manageable, stimulating and fulfilling once again, returning to a time when we can deliver the best quality, personalised care that our patients need without a detrimental impact on our own health and wellbeing.

‘I am confident that the work of the College will ensure that things WILL get better.’

He added that the RCGP, which celebrated its 70-year anniversary over the weekend, will ‘continue to support its members, defend them when necessary and promote their contribution always’.

Reflecting on his time in office, he said that the GP workload crisis has been a ‘bigger challenge’ than the Covid pandemic and ‘reoriented the main role of the College from pushing for higher standards in clinical care for patients to supporting practices to adapt and change’.

He celebrated the work of practices who ‘kept the service running’ during the pandemic, despite ‘underserved attacks’ on the profession over face-to-face appointments by politicians and ‘certain parts of the media’.

‘History will judge general practice to have played a fundamentally important role through the pandemic,’ he said. 

Professor Marshall paid tribute to the GP colleagues lost to the pandemic whose ‘sacrifice will never be forgotten’, as well as the ‘dedicated and passionate’ College council, the ‘amazing’ officer team and ‘incredible’ vice chair for external affairs Dr Gary Howsam who also stepped down on Friday.

Dr Howsam is succeeded by Dr Victoria Tzortziou Brown who previously served as RCGP honorary secretary.

Professor Marshall added: ‘I wish my successor Kamila Hawthorne all the very best. She is a powerful and ardent advocate for frontline GPs and for our specialty and I leave you in excellent hands.

‘Thank you for the privilege of serving you over the past three years, for certainly being your “Pandemic Chair” and hopefully a bit more than that too.’

New RCGP chair Professor Kamila Hawthorne works as a GP in the Welsh valleys and is the first South Asian female chair of the College.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Patrufini Duffy 21 November, 2022 2:56 pm

GPs don’t want it to get better. It is over. The narrative of GPs coming to save the day is a perverse age-old psychological manipulation and play on good people, with the GMC and medical tribunals watching their move and the sick game of taking on social responsibility and scapegoating. It is over. The RCGP has played little role in exposing the threats to a profession clearly on a path to privatisation and dissolution. That is a benefit to each hard working doctor. Things will get worse, then you will have your cake and respect. Like a dentist as the Professor once said. Ride out the storm. And believe in no one but yourself.

Paul Attwood 21 November, 2022 4:03 pm

Things can only get better? D-Ream on.
I agree with PDiddy. They’ll get worse I fear.
Time to plan an alternative GP service.

Iain Chalmers 21 November, 2022 6:47 pm

I’m not sure which planet he’s on but I’m glad to be going. The only bit that concerns me is who/what is going to care for me if I fall ill.

David Mummery 21 November, 2022 9:40 pm

Thank you Martin – you have been absolutely brilliant!!! We have been very lucky to have you as RCGP Chair. Have a well deserved rest !

Simon Sherwood 22 November, 2022 12:39 pm

This really cheered me up . The first comment of the pantomime season .

Here’s my reply
“ oh no they won’t “

James Bissett 23 November, 2022 9:39 am

Typical ivory Tower Lord
No real clue what is really going on
Take your well deserved Gong

Truth Finder 23 November, 2022 9:54 am

Nice speech but most working GPs would disagree.

Katharine Morrison 30 November, 2022 7:19 pm

Thank you for your efforts Professor Marshall. I enjoyed reading your RCGP column and think that you have a sensible outlook. I hope things do improve for GPs but years of the government and public trying to extract more and more from GPs with no brake on demands and workload has made demoralisation and exhaustion difficult to reverse.