The influence of this long-serving head of Londonwide LMCs hasn’t gone unnoticed this year. Dr Michelle Drage was nominated by colleagues for her ‘ever-present face and voice for hard-pressed GPs’ and for ‘leading from the front’.
But Dr Drage has by no means escaped a challenge over the past 12 months – she’s had to tackle the fact that half of London’s GP practices currently have unfilled vacancies for GPs and practice nurses and one in 10 face closure over the next three years.
As a result of this, she’s been focusing on establishing Londonwide LMCs ‘GP Resilience’ campaign across the capital, supporting GPs to ‘take control’ via practical guides and advice to help shore up practices that are struggling to cope.
She has also written strongly in defence of the generalist role of GPs this year in Pulse, and been involved in talks to roll out seven-day access across London. ‘We want NHS England to put their money where their mouth is – to support GPs to work collaboratively so that patients can receive the best of care with the resources we’ve got,’ she says.
Looking ahead, Dr Drage has an ambitious to-do list. She is working on strengthening her LMCs to enable them meet the challenges of the Five Year Forward View and to create more opportunities for the GPs they represent.
She’s also aiming to further relationships across primary, community and social care locally and across London and find solutions to the workforce crisis. Her other aim? ‘Get revalidated!’ she says.