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.