27 November 2019

GPs Need to 'Take Better Care of Themselves' in Order to Provide the Best Possible Care to Patients, Says New College Chair

Professor Martin Marshall, the new Chair of the Royal College of GPs, is calling for GPs to be given the 'space' they need to look after their own health so that they can provide safe care to patients.

Outlining his priorities for the next three years, Prof Marshall – a practising GP in Newham, East London – says that tackling GP workload and promoting GP wellbeing are critical if patients are to receive the 'whole person, relationship-focused, care' they deserve.

He is calling for urgent action to recruit, support and retain more GPs and more members of the wider primary care workforce – as well as practical help to support GP teams with new ways of working.

This, he says, will lead to the 'reinvigoration' of the core value of general practice – personalised care delivered by the GP to their patient.
Professor Marshall said:

"For too many of us, general practice doesn't feel like a very do-able job at the moment, leading to retention and recruitment problems, low morale, and, in many cases, affecting our own health and well-being.

"We need to take better care of ourselves, which means creating space: first, for basic physiological needs -  a cup of coffee, a comfort break, a quick chat with a colleague.

"Second, we need to create space to allow us to deliver safe care for patients and to be the best doctors that we can be.

"And third, we need to create space to allow us to explore how we might want our roles to evolve: as leaders of the wider multi-disciplinary team; as contributors to networks of practices, and as advocates for social change."

Describing himself as having 'enormous enthusiasm tinged with a healthy dose of scepticism', Professor Marshall says he is optimistic about the future for GPs and patients.

"I believe that general practice is in a much better place than we were a few years ago.  We still have a long way to go - particularly in getting resources to the frontline where they are needed - but I am hopeful about where we are heading," he says.

"It's a massive privilege to represent over 53,000 GPs and to have this opportunity to lead the very special specialty of general practice for the next three years. Never underestimate how all of us as individuals can ensure a bright future for general practice."

Further Information
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The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.