The past year has been a strong one for Leeds GP and GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey, a man described by members of our panel as ‘the bright spark’ of the GPC and ‘a canny politician who brings a bit of plain Yorkshire speaking to debates’.
Those attributes have enabled Dr Vautrey to articulate the concerns of GPs clearly and become an authoritative voice of the profession.
He was one of few members of BMA Council who was unafraid to speak to the media on the pensions dispute (although he struggled to convince his own practice to take industrial action) and he memorably described the mooted quality-premium payment as something that would ‘lead to GPs being regularly on the front page of the Daily Mail‘.
Dr Vautrey is a great advocate of the importance of protecting GPs from work that is not their responsibility, leading on new guidance to avoid GPs being expected to mop up secondary care tasks.
He highlights the fallout from the Health and Social Care Act and the pensions dispute as the issues that have dominated the last year, adding: ‘I think this year and the next year will shape the future for general practice as well as the wider NHS.’
His main focus in the coming year will be trying to squeeze a better deal for practices out of the contract negotiations with the Government.
‘The main concerns will be GP workload and rising expenses,’ he says. ‘There is a belief that this is untenable and we will be doing our level best to ensure no more work flows in from secondary care to primary care without increased resources.’
Commissioning and regulation of GPs via revalidation and CQC registration are also key issues that will rise to the top of the agenda, he predicts: ‘We will find out whether CCGs really will be clinically led. It will be this year that starts to determine that.’
It’s clear he is not about to tire. He describes it as ‘a great privilege’ to represent the profession and says he will continue in his role as deputy chair as long as the GPC has faith in him.
Best moment: Railing against the implications of paying GPs a quality premium
Worst moment: Failing to persuade his partners to take industrial action over pensions