You can download the RGPAS response here.
More comment to follow.
You can download the RGPAS response here.
More comment to follow.
Tickets for the 2018 GURRMS (Glasgow University Remote & Rural Medicine Society) are set to go on sale for students tomorrow evening. Following on from the highly successful GURRMS 2017 conference that was held on Islay last year, GURRMS 2018 is set to take place in Portree on the Isle of Skye, at the Aros Centre from 23-25 March, and another action-packed and stimulating programme is taking shape.
I caught up with the chair of GURRMS, James McHugh, this afternoon to find out more about how plans are coming together. Once again a full range of speakers has been organised, and the committee are busy sorting out finances and logistics to ensure that this year’s event runs smoothly. Kudos to them given that these guys are also coming up to their final exams, with the stresses and time involved with that.
Full details will be announced over the next while on the GURRMS Facebook page, and tickets are due to become available in the next day or so. Last year’s event sold out within hours and so be sure to keep an eye out for the tickets being launched.
GURRMS 2018 is receiving financial support from RGPAS (the Rural GP Association of Scotland) along with a number of other funding streams, and RGPAS has been keen to support and encourage student activities like this, so we’re delighted to see plans take shape so promisingly.
We wish the best of luck to GURRMS in running their second conference, and we’re looking forward to meeting students who are keen to find out more about rural practice – see you in Skye!
A members’ survey carried out by the Rural GP Association of Scotland (RGPAS) has revealed a considerable level of concern across rural GPs in Scotland about the new GP contract proposals. Of 115 members, 74 have responded (65% response rate).
One reason for conducting this survey, is the refusal to publish the geographical breakdown of the results of the national poll. We understand that this may be due to a technicality of the voting process and therefore hope that this is useful information for SGPC and Scottish Government to view the perspectives of rural GPs in Scotland about the new contract.
In November last year, RGPAS published a constructive appraisal of the proposed new GP contract. Since then we have attempted to engage with SGPC and Scottish Government to understand how appropriate steps can be taken to ensure that the very acute needs of Scottish rural general practice will be adequately addressed. RGPAS wrote a letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Shona Robison, and a phone call took place on Wednesday 13th December to discuss our concerns in more detail. A formal response to this letter was promised, but as yet we have not received this. Specific concerns highlighted at this time included whether the GP contract proposals were compatible with the Scottish Government’s ‘Realistic Medicine’ strategy, and the effects of the proposed Workload Allocation Formula (WAF) in delivering much-needed additional resource only to urban-based practices. Notably, these specific concerns about the WAF are echoed by our ‘Deep End’ colleagues – GPs who work in some of the most deprived communities in Scotland.
In the last few days, further concerns have been raised by Prof Phil Wilson about the methodology behind the proposed new Workload Allocation Formula as well as the process of polling GPs across Scotland – from which the SGPC will decide whether to go ahead with the proposed ‘Phase One’ of the proposals. [STOP PRESS: A further letter from Prof Wilson was sent on 8th January with additional concerns about the allocation formula].
RGPAS remains ready to work with SGPC and the Scottish Government to address the issues being raised by our members, whether the new contract goes ahead or not. The survey results below indicate the strength of feeling, but moreso the passion that rural GPs – like many GPs across Scotland – have for advocating for their communities, and delivering quality primary care in some particularly challenging circumstances.
RGPAS believes these concerns need to be addressed with the utmost urgency, and not wait until or whether Phase Two of the proposed contract is enabled – if Phase Two happens, we understand that it won’t be for another 2-5 years. We do understand the plans to form a ‘Short Life Working Group’ for rural practice. However, the time for action is now, not least to address the constructive concerns raised already in this process about the proposals of Phase One.
This is critical for the future of Scottish rural primary care, and the RGPAS committee and membership is ready now to see more effective representation of the health needs of Scotland’s rural communities than what has been proposed.
Some of the comments at the end of the survey are particularly illuminating…
Last night’s BMA Scotland webchat with the Scottish GP Committee (SGPC) about the new GP contract was an opportunity for GPs across Scotland to engage with our negotiating team to find clarity, response and reassurance (where possible) about the new contract.
We appreciate the time that our SGPC colleagues took out of their evenings in order to provide this session, which you can view here https://www.bma.org.uk/connecting-doctors/my_working_life/p/gpcontractwebchat
RGPAS wishes to respond to an SGPC comment last night in relation to the map that has been published in the last few weeks showing which practices stand to gain from the proposed workload allocation formula. Concern was expressed that the originally published map was incorrect, as red dots had been used to indicate practices who will see no difference and no additional funding compared with their 2017 funding.
And so we are very happy to issue a revised map which makes this correction – see the map above.
The green dots indicate GP practices that will gain additional funding – or maintain current funding – and the red dots indicate practices which will see a fall in their allocated income as a result of the proposed formula. These red practices will – in Phase One of the proposals – require ‘protected income’ to keep their funding in line with 2017 funding as otherwise they would see drops of up to 85% in funding for patient care.
We’re surprised that this clarification is required, not least as we see very little difference between the maps.
There are significant concerns about the way in which the workload allocation formula has been devised, and from the graph below it can be seen that there is an obvious skew against rural practices.
This, however does not tell the whole story – our Deep End GP practice confreres – who represent the GP practices serving the most deprived communities in Glasgow – have expressed their own concerns and surprise that health inequalities do not seem to be adequately addressed by the proposed contract.
Meantime, RGPAS remains committed to representing the needs of its members, and the wider needs of rural GP practices in Scotland and their communities. Several weeks ago we published our official response to the new contract, including positive ways that we firmly believe RGPAS can assist with the process of further negotiation and shaping the future of Scottish primary care. You can download the report ‘Looking at the Right Map’ by clicking the image on the right.
Rural GPs can join RGPAS here: http://www.ruralgp.scot/join (£20 per annum membership).
You can view our letter to Cabinet Secretary Shona Robison (response awaited).
Here’s some recent news coverage regarding RGPAS concerns:
The Rural GP Association of Scotland (RGPAS) today publishes its response to the Scottish GP contract proposals. Following much discussion on our members’ email discussion group, RGPAS videoconferences and wider engagement on social media and contract roadshows, we have collated the opportunities and challenges that we believe to exist in the proposals.
We recognise that a new vision for the future of Scottish primary care is vital. We are keen to collaborate and inform the development of these plans in order that Scotland’s rural communities (at least 18% of the Scottish population) are represented appropriately.
You can read the GP contract proposal at the BMA Scotland website.
You can find out more about RGPAS at www.ruralgp.scot
BASICS Scotland would like to announce the dates for the next Paediatric Tele-education Course, presented by Karyn Webster. This 9 week course will start on Monday the 29th January and run for 9 weeks with an additional 6 weeks of post-course giving you enough time to catch up on any recordings you have missed!
Tele-education by BASICS Scotland is an online learning resource ideal for remote and rural practitioners eager to reinforce and develop their skills in pre-hospital emergency care. The benefit of Tele-education is that participants can take part without having to leave their home or place of work. The course is delivered entirely over the web, with weekly 1-hour live sessions in a video conferencing format which participants can attend or view the recordings later at a time more convenient for them!
Topics on this course include:
If you are interested in taking part in this course or would like more information head over to the BASICS Scotland website and complete an application form today!
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow is pleased to announce a provisional programme for the Safety and Sustainability in Rural General Surgery Conference on 30 November and the morning of 1 December 2017. This conference will bring together many of Scotland’s current surgical trainees with a long-established network of remote and rural surgeons, the Viking Surgeons’ Club, in an exciting and unique event.
The conference will explore the current reality of Scottish rural surgical service provision, discuss the international remote healthcare experience, and offer updates into the management of surgical subspecialty emergencies in a rural context. We welcome delegates from around the world who have an interest in rural healthcare and the challenges therein.
Title: Safety and Sustainability in Rural General Surgery: The Viking Surgeons’ Conference 2017
Date: November 30 and December 1 2017
Venue: The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, 232 – 242 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5RJ
Book online: https://rcpsg.ac.uk/events/vikings
Dr Patrick Byrne, consultant at the Belford Hospital in Fort William, was involved in hosting a visit from a delegation from the Philipines. This article featured in Lochaber Life Magazine earlier this month. It has been reproduced here with the kind permission of Iain Ferguson of the Write Image (picture credits to Iain too).
The Belford Hospital continues to punch above its weight on the national and international stage, welcoming a delegation from the Philippines a few weeks ago. The visit was part of a week-long study tour to the UK by Presidents and delegates from the Philippine Royal Colleges of Physicians, Surgeons, Paediatricians and Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, alongside officials from the Philippine Ministry of Health.
Teaching & training for most healthcare providers in the Philippines tends to be concentrated in the largest hospitals in cities, ignoring the district and rural locations. This is in contrast to the UK where every hospital has a role to play and sometimes the best experiences and training is to be found in the smallest facilities, where one-to-one supervision from consultant teachers is often the norm, not the exception. The purpose of their study tour was to learn from UK practices, specifically how supporting and investing in rural hospitals leads to a more efficient healthcare system across the region, and the country.
Led by the immediate Past President of the Royal College of Surgeons, Mr Ian Ritchie (who has family ties to Corpach), the delegates specifically requested to see an example of good training in a small hospital of approximately 100 beds. Mr Ritchie replied, “I can bring you to a 34-bed hospital where training and patient care is not just good, but excellent”. The importance of this visit, was underlined by the presence of the most senior NHSH personnel – Prof Elaine Mead (Chief Executive Officer), Mrs Gill McVicar MBE (Director of Operations) and Dr Emma Watson (Director of Medical Education).
Each, in turn, reiterated the importance of consultant-led services and training at Belford Hospital, both now and going forward. However, it was Miss Alison Bradley, a former Belford trainee, now a senior surgical registrar in Glasgow, who captivated and inspired everybody, proving that rurality is no impediment to ambition; quite the opposite, in fact, as she explained the details of her PhD research into pancreatic cancer.
Mr Ritchie said, “It was very clear to all who visited that numbers of beds is not an indicator of good training, it is that key relationship between a trainer and a trainee which, in Fort William, you all demonstrate to a very high degree. The high point was certainly the Belford.” In her letter of thanks, on behalf of the College of Paediatrics, Dr Cynthia Daniel echoed this, adding “I am certain with you and the rest who share the same passion for training and service, Belford Hospital should be safe for the next 150 years and beyond”.
In a really interesting development for rural health internationally, Australia has appointed its first Rural Health Commissioner.
Charged with the responsibility of overseeing and driving a wide range of activities around supporting ‘rural generalism’ the post offers a chance to provide more co-ordinated leadership across domains, regions and disciplines to make rural health strategy more cohesive in Australia.
Professor Paul Worley has been appointed as the first Rural Health Commissioner and this move has been widely welcomed across the rural health community. He brings an impressive portfolio of experience to the post, including in clinical, academic, educational and strategic development aspects of rural health. You can watch Dr David Gillespie MP announce the post, and Prof Worley outline some of his visions for the future (at 5min 55s), in the video below.
Twitter and other social networks – including the WONCA Working Party on Rural Health international email list – have been buzzing with positivity about the new post, and it is likely that this approach might pave the way for similar developments in other countries.
In Scotland, we are watching developments with interest. Rural medicine and health services are of significant importance in Scotland’s National Health Service – 98% of Scotland’s land mass is rural, and 18% of Scotland’s population live in a rural area, with many more flocking to rural areas during holidays. And yet despite considerable aspects of medical care being delivered by GPs and primary care teams, within community hospitals, A&E units and facilities outwith the usual remit of GPs, there continues to be relatively little in the way of co-ordinated clinical governance and strategic unity to link rural and isolated practitioners together. These services provided by rural GPs remain considered to be on the ‘fringes’ of general medical practice. Therefore the opportunities created by appointing an experienced individual to provide leadership, stimulate innovation and inspire positive approaches, are sorely needed in areas other than Australia.
Having met Paul at the WONCA World Rural Health conference in Cairns this year, I’m delighted to hear this news and inspired to think that this is a situation to watch closely. I have little doubt that we will be reflecting that Scotland could benefit from a similar approach in the near future.
Well done Australia, and all the folks involved in making this happen. These are exciting times.
GPs, GP Trainees, Foundation Year Doctors, Locums and Practice Managers across Ayrshire and Scotland.
To promote our fantastic GP community, provide CPD and raise the profile of practices within the Ayrshire and Arran locale.
We are proud to welcome BMA’s Chair of the Scottish GP Committee, Dr Alan McDevitt, who will be discussing the ongoing contractual negotiations and will provide information on the current conversation with regard to the progress of the debate. 5 CPD credits are available to any practitioner who attends the event and participates in the educational workshops.
RuralGP.com is run voluntarily to bring together relevant articles from around the UK (and the world). We actively encourage participation and are happy to include relevant articles.
Since November 2012, RuralGP.com has been generously supported by a donation from RGPAS which has greatly enhanced the speed and connectivity of the site.
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