As the outgoing chair of the RCGP (in every sense of the word), Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard has rarely been out of the news.
NHS England takes note of her blueprints for the future of general practice. Many of the College’s ideas were made into reality by the new GP contract. Looking further back, NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said he would increase primary care funds due to the ‘compelling case’ made by the RCGP in its 2015 document, which ‘helped influence’ the 2016 GP Forward View, according to the college.
So it is no surprise Dr Stokes-Lampard says one of her standout professional achievements this year was publishing the RCGP’s Fit for the Future report, calling for 15-minute GP consultations to be the norm for general practice.
She also notes her hand in negotiating the state-backed indemnity scheme for England and Wales was the ‘result of a lot of hard work and campaigning by the college,’ as well as the BMA.
There have been bumps along the way for the college this year, with the RCGP’s judgement publicly called into question twice.
In May, the college’s decision to invite journalist and broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer to speak at its annual conference sparked a petition against her inclusion due to her views on immigration.
Only a few months previously the RCGP was also under pressure from GPs to revoke an honorary title it gave the Sultan of Brunei in 2013 after the country this year made gay sex punishable by death.
But in both cases the body listened to its members and sided with their views, both withdrawing the sultan’s title and also revoking Ms Hartley-Brewer’s invitation to conference.
Despite the rocky road this year, Professor Stokes-Lampard has continued to dedicate herself to representing the profession at large in the media – on key issues such as workload pressures and practice closures – which have set a high standard for her successor, Professor Martin Marshall, when he takes over in November.
Why influential: A media-savvy GP who raises the alarm on professional issues so they resonate with the public
What she says: ‘Energetic, enthusiastic, dedicated professional’
Random fact: Opera singer Katherine Jenkins sang at her wedding 25 years ago this year.