02 dr chaand nagpaul power50 2016
The GPC chair deserves plaudits for pulling off a tricky juggling act this year.
Described by GPs who nominated him as ‘totally inspirational’ and ‘hard-working’, Dr Nagpaul has managed to publicise the crisis in general practice while turning around relations with NHS bosses. He worked on the detail of the GP Forward View, but avoided endorsing it fully so as retain wiggle-room in negotiations.
Pulse portrayed Dr Nagpaul as Che Guevara on its cover in January, but a more accurate comparison could be with US president Barack Obama. In turbulent times, this north London GP has proved a calm politician who thinks deeply about the right way forward. He knows tone is important – he can be an excellent orator – but cares more about making a difference on the ground than about presentation.
This approach has delivered results. An inflation-busting 3.2% GP funding rise from this April is expected to deliver a 1% pay uplift for partners – the first income increase in seven years. Seven-day GP access has been kept out of the GMS contract, rises in indemnity costs will be reimbursed, there is the tantalising prospect of the QOF being scrapped next year and the threat of industrial action was used to get NHS England to accept the principles in the Urgent Prescription for General Practice as a ‘basis for further discussion’. As one nominator put it: ‘He has shown true grit in the face of an awful Government.’
But Dr Nagpaul has to deliver this year in order to prevent an open revolt from an increasingly vocal wing of the GPC and LMCs. A number are unhappy that the LMCs Conference vote on mass resignation and/or industrial action was dismissed so lightly and are nervous that the GPC is acting on a wing and a prayer, relying on NHS England’s assurances that things will get better. Dr Nagpaul will seek grassroots GPs’ views this month on what to demand in future negotiations with the Government, but many will be looking at how closely he listens to their concerns.
Some aspects of the GP Forward View have been enacted, but none of the £2.4bn promised by 2020 has yet reached the front line. Dr Nagpaul will need all his leadership qualities to steer an increasingly restless profession through the months ahead.
Why influential: GP leader tasked with delivering real change this year
Surprising fact: As a teenager, he wanted to be a busker specialising in Bob Dylan songs