This site is intended for health professionals only

Are we seeing a bit of radicalism from the RCGP?

Short-term boost

Yesterday’s health select committee meeting threw up a number of interesting points. There were ideas that secondary care professionals should spend a year training in primary care, and that QOF should be scrapped. But perhaps the most relevant point was that these ideas came from the RCGP chair, Professor Martin Marshall.

This feels significant to me. To put it nicely, at least since the days of Professor Clare Gerada as chair, the college is not known for such pragmatic and potentially radical measures. It is often seen – rightly or wrongly – as being small c conservative, rather working in alliance with NHS leaders and the Government than challenging them.

The issue of QOF in England is still one that splits the profession. For every GP who wants it scrapped, there is another who wants it kept – including the BMA. My view remains that more money – including QOF – should be put in core funding, but I understand how difficult it is to negotiate this.

Equally, it is good to see the college and the BMA arguing for secondary care training to have more exposure to general practice. There is no doubt that a year spent in general practice rather than three months, or even no time, will help reduce workload dump.

But even if you disagree with these proposals, I am glad that this is the way the college is going. Like I argued last week, we need radical solutions and Professor Marshall is right to involve himself in these areas. Even taking the college remit at its narrowest – ie, maintaining clinical standards –  addressing workload is essential.

Of course, ‘radical’ is relative in this context. I’m not expecting them to push for full on industrial action any time soon. But more suggestions that will actually help GPs will be very welcome.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at


Patrufini Duffy 16 March, 2022 3:06 pm

You know. They won’t sacrifice a core medical or surgical trainee. If anything, “they’ll” just keep the GP trainee in hospital for an extra year instead, working on some weird job like ophthalmology or neurosurgery for six months.

Dave Haddock 16 March, 2022 3:57 pm

A truly radical RCGP would admit that the NHS is a failed experiment that needs to replaced by something a lot more pragmatic and a lot less ideological.

David Evans 16 March, 2022 6:12 pm

Sooner or later we need to have a grown up conversation about managing demand across the whole of Primary Care ie encompassing General Practice; Urgent Care ; A/E .
Working in our silos is not the way forward.!

Vinci Ho 16 March, 2022 7:31 pm

While I am personally more than grateful for the effort of Professor Clare Gerada setting up and maintaining the NHS Health Practitioner Service ( which I am benefiting from the CBT it offered for my current burnt out syndrome)🙏,it is difficult to conclude how much the college had actually done to help us fighting this looming end-game battle for last 10 years ?😳🤨
While BMA/GPC is also not the ‘best’ union some would fancy , how many times did we see the college was holding rather pro-establishment views opposite to what we were fighting for against a broken system run by government(s) taking us(GPs) for granted ?
(This is a question not necessarily criticism).
If this government is to bring on another radical(I would argue aggressive, more precisely) reform in our GP realm , uniting into one single force is the only way forward ………..
Now I am going back to my Headspace app for more meditation 🧘‍♂️ , need to be calmer and more optimistic, I suppose 😳😎

Finola ONeill 16 March, 2022 9:32 pm

I suggest the BMA gets professional negotiators, with union experience, to renegotiate the contract. It’s not hard. We have put ourselves in a ridiculous position by continually being so accommodating and unwilling to stand our ground. It’s going to take GPs stopping being such yes men. We shall see. And ditch the PCN DES, Ludicrous pisstake that it is

Turn out The Lights 16 March, 2022 10:05 pm

The RCGP. And BMA have lost a significant proportion of us,never to return,they do not or have not represented us for over a decade,they have sold us and future GPS down the river.They have done to us what Putin has done to Ukraine and the Russian army,trying to regain an empire that never really existed and can’t be re made.They have destroyed what they had as a failed vanity project.The golden goose is dead,deadened and gone for good.A sad period of history and our leaders have collaborated in it.They won’t be ashamed they will retire with good pensions but I doubt they will have any one to care for them.