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 firstname.lastname@example.org