Report from Gregynog 2009 Rural Doctors’ Conference

gregynogDr Malcolm Ward, Chair of the RCGP Rural Forum, has just returned from the Annual Rural Doctors’ Conference in Gregynog, Wales.  He sends this report…

Thanks to Montgomeryshire Medical Society and the Institute of Rural Health, Gregynog Hall has been host to the Annual Rural Doctors’ conference since 1990. It was the first time I have attended having been invited to speak on behalf of the new RCGP Rural Forum. I gave a presentation on Revalidation and a brief update on dispensing, all the more brief because I over ran on Revalidation! The most important message to Welsh dispensing doctors was, and is to ensure they get their dispensing premises registered as required by the new Welsh NHS pharmaceutical regulations which were laid before the Assembly 17.7.09.

The regulations require that all Welsh dispensing practices must register their dispensing premises with their LHB within 3 months of the date they came into force. In essence after an extensive consultation period, the Welsh Assembly decided to, in effect, adopt the English 2005 Pharmaceutical Regulations and a concise summary of the provisions of the regulations are provided under the explanatory notes of the Welsh regulations. If any practice has any problems in consequence of the new regulations I am sure the Dispensing Doctors’ Association will be pleased to hear from you.

I hope I was able to give some reassurance to delegates about the requirements for Revalidation as set out in the version 2 of the RCGP Guidance published in August 2009, particularly on how to overcome some of the concerns expressed by many rural doctors. I have no doubt that the excellent standard of education content that the Gregynog conference delivers will ensure that this annual event provides an excellent source of learning credits for rural GPs for many years to come, particularly if delegates can demonstrate to their appraisers that learning points taken home have resulted in improvements to their clinical practice backed by clinical audit.

It was also a great opportunity to promote the new RCGP Rural Forum which has its official launch at the RCGP Annual Conference in Glasgow 5-7.11.09.  I am delighted to report that Peter Holden, GPC negotiator, was the first GP to register as a member of the new Rural Forum and I hope that he will be the first of many. Please look out for your email from the College or register on line NOW. You need the Rural Forum and the Forum needs your membership if it is to fulfil its potential in supporting rural practice.

Peter gave an enthralling update on medico-political issues including comment on the burning issue over the Government announcement to scrap practice boundaries. This is a prime example of politicians announcing things that they feel have party political benefit without consulting about the practical implications.  How will practices manage to do home visits for patients outside their natural boundaries and if these were outsourced to other agents what would that do for continuity of care, particularly for palliative care for example?

If significant numbers of rural patients that work in an outlying urban areas, were to register with practices near their place of work, some rural practices might become non viable which would be to the detriment of the frail, elderly and chronically ill who live in those rural areas.

I enjoyed the Gregynog experience and I am sure I, like many others, will return to this lovely rural setting to augment our respective professional development portfolios.

Malcolm Ward

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