Policy bites with Amanda Howe - President-Elect


Professor Amanda Howe, our new President–Elect, said in her speech at the WONCA Council that she would “help with policy messages. In WONCA …. we know what we want to say. I’d work on how we say it – getting accurate clear briefing documents out, so you can adapt them for use in your place”. So now we are inviting her to take up that challenge. Here is Amanda’s first offering, and she will do this regularly.

We are also inviting you to send us similar material - an important piece of policy from your own organisation or setting that relates to family medicine developments and that might be helpful to others. Please send a summary, a link, and make it short - its not Twitter, we shall allow up to 500 words! Each piece will be reviewed to check it is appropriate to publish it on the public part of the website - you can also log in to the members' forum to discuss reactions and related issues.

The policy

The 2022 GP – a Vision for General Practice in the future NHS (London;RCGP: 20131).

The problem

  • Family medicine needs to do more - because people are living longer with more health problems and more treatment and health care options that we need to manage effectively
  • Money and resources are less than the needs, and often the poorest get the least good deal.
To make family medicine desirable for government and patients by 2022, we need to offer:
  • An expanded, skilled, resilient and adaptable family medicine and primary care workforce
  • A positive experience for patients, carers and families: patients and carers need to feel respected as people and included in decisions
  • An accessible, high-quality, comprehensive healthcare service to all communities
  • Investment in suitable community-based premises for delivering care, teaching, training and research
  • Greater use of information and technology to improve health and care
This should result in:
  • Coordination and collaboration of care for individuals, with less fragmentation
  • Reduced health inequalities and increased community self-sufficiency
  • Improved understanding and management of inappropriate variability in quality
  • More community-led research, development and quality improvement
To do this we need to:
  • See expansion of the family medicine workforce to meet population and service needs
  • promote a greater understanding of the value of generalist care, and demonstrate its value to the national health service
  • develop new generalist-led primary care services that deliver personalised, cost-effective care
  • enhance the skills and flexibility of the general practice workforce to provide complex care
  • support the organisational development of community-based practices, teams and networks
  • increase community-based academic activity to improve effectiveness, research and quality
Our expectations of others:
To achieve these goals a shifting of resources within the health service will be necessary, and family medicine needs to be valued as a central resource of any cost –effective health care system.
Specifically, investment is needed, to allow expansion in the capacity of the family medicine and community-based workforce; enhanced generalist training for GPs and other health professionals expected to work in community settings; and investment in the service infrastructure and premises, technology and resources for delivering care.

There is the argument – does it apply to your setting?

To give your views login or join the WONCA forum

send your own "policy bite" to editor@wonca.net

1. This is adapted from the 2022 Vision report – with grateful thanks to Clare Gerada, Nigel Mathers et al.
You can read the whole document in English on the Royal College of GPs’ policy pages