Last week I attended the RCGP annual conference in Liverpool.

I loved it. I personally feel for the cost, it is a great way of engaging with CPD sessions, with a variety of interesting topics, which you can tailor to your individual needs. I personally found the educational sessions, clinical talks, and research round-ups highly stimulating and worthwhile. My favourite sessions however were the partnership debate, great stance on both sides but an overwhelming majority voted for the motion that ‘the profession was doing new GPs a disservice with a lack of partnership opportunities’. I also enjoyed the Moral maze, chaired by Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, with an open question session with RCGP Chair Clare Gerada, BMA Chair Hamish Meldrum, Baroness Julia Cumberlege, Dan Wellings, head of Public Health Reserach at Ipsos MORI and Sir Michael Rawlins, Chairman of NICE. My favourite moment was when the Michael Rawlins Chair of NICE agreed with the RCGP chair (and they shook hands on it) that NICE guidance is just guidance specific to a single condition; NOT a protocol, and managing multiple morbidities with NICE guidance is not what they are designed to do, and as such performance management by the guidelines should not apply.

It is a great networking opportunity, and I am glad to have met various GPs, nurses, business people and other healthcare professionals and lay people. In addition, this year I had an interesting situation of meeting some fellow tweeters,all of  whom I hope to maintain contact with, and explore developing ideas.

On that note, I would highlight one of my favourite reasons for attending. I have attended the past 3 conferences in a row, and every time come away with several ideas. Some will no doubt never see the light of day, some will, but I come away with a sense of drive and passion and hopefully a little ingineuity.

I also come away with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the profession I work in. Since the first conference I attended in in Glasgow three years ago, I have always come away feeling valued as a professional, driven as a practitioner and yearning to experience more.

I also have a great deal of fun. Whether social events like the First5 curry night, kareoke singing in the cavern club (yes I sang in the carvern club, home of the Beatles, and nobody’s ears bled unbelievably!), or watching angle-grinding lady’s shower sparks upon the college officers while fire-eaters spew metre high walls of fire across a room at the conference party, or relaxing with a well needed cup of tea while conversing on the plans of First5, practice appointment systems, PCT nuances, hobbies, running and whether Mr Andrew Lansley will attend or not?

Last week I attended the RCGP annual conference in Liverpool.

I loved it. I personally feel for the cost, it is a great way of engaging with CPD sessions, with a variety of interesting topics, which you can tailor to your individual needs. I personally found the educational sessions, clinical talks, and research round-ups highly stimulating and worthwhile. One of my favourite sessions however was the partnership debate; a great stance on both sides but an overwhelming majority voted for the motion that ‘the profession was doing new GPs a disservice with a lack of partnership opportunities’. I also enjoyed The Moral Maze, chaired by Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, with an open question session with RCGP Chair Clare Gerada, BMA Chair Hamish Meldrum, Baroness Julia Cumberlege, Dan Wellings, head of Public HealthReserach at Ipsos MORI and Sir Michael Rawlins, Chairman of NICE. My favourite moment was when the Michael Rawlins Chair of NICE agreed with the RCGP chair (and they shook hands on it), that NICE guidance is just guidance specific to a single condition; NOT a protocol. Also that managing multiple morbidities with NICE guidance is not what the guidelines are designed to do, and as such performance management purely based on NICE guidelines should not apply.

It is a great networking opportunity, and I am glad to have met various GPs, nurses, business people and other healthcare professionals and lay people. In addition, this year I had an interesting situation of meeting some fellow tweeters,all of  whom I hope to keep up contact with, and explore developing ideas.

On that note, I would highlight one of my favourite reasons for attending. I have attended the past 3 conferences in a row, and every time come away with several ideas. Some will no doubt never see the light of day, some will, but I come away with a sense of drive and passion and hopefully a little ingenuity.

I also come away with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the profession I work in. Since the first conference I attended inGlasgow three years ago, I have always come away feeling valued as a professional, driven as a practitioner and yearning to experience more.

I also have a great deal of fun. Whether social events like the First5 curry night, karaoke singing in the cavern club (yes I sang in the Cavern Club, home of the Beatles, and nobody’s ears bled unbelievably!). Additionally  watching ladies using angle-grinders to shower sparks upon the college officers while fire-eaters spew metre high walls of fire across a room at the conference party; or relaxing with a well needed cup of tea while conversing on the plans of First5, practice appointment systems, PCT nuances, hobbies and whether Mr Andrew Lansley would attend or not?

And to my last highlight. The speeches via the plenary sessions. This year there were four that truly stood out. I urge you to readRCGP Chair Clare Gerada’s opening speech at the conference. A truly inspiring speech to attend, and one I feel speaks volumes about the situation of our current profession. I wanted to read it again and found this link by AbetterNHS. Similarly Richard Horton editor of The Lancet challenged all in attendance to look at social values in the healthcare and to address health inequalities and the inverse care law. Both he and Clare received standing ovations from over 1000 GPs.attending the sessions. Another highlight was Detective Chief Superintendent John Carnochan’s speech where he discussed further evidence that health inequality impacts the care received, and my main learning point, was remembering that in some situations, life does not allow you to function as a ‘normal person’. As a result, ‘David’s story’ has changed my view on the delivery of healthcare in urban, high deprivation areas. Finally the conference ended with the ministerial address. Yes he did turn up and thankfully, gave time to the audience. Without a doubt Andrew Lansley’s knowledge of the NHS and his bill is exemplary, as commented by theRCGP chair. I however still feel that there are many unanswered questions of the bill, and Andrew Lansley failed to reassure me that his bill will be for the benefit of the nation. He highlighted competition as a key theme, however as seen recently, competition in the energy sector has led to consumers now paying through the nose and the companies in profit of £125 per customer.

I did however enjoy the stream of questions. With an impromptu vote which showed the majority of the attendants against the health bill, to the question asking Andrew Lansley to clarify his definition of privatisation, as he has stated this bill is not about privatisation. This question was made more poignant and humorous when posed  with reference to Bill Clinton and his ‘definition’ of sexual relations with a certain lady (many thanks @PeteDeveson). Another rumble of laughter was also generated when discussing practice boundaries and whether it would benefit people with second homes, as agreed by Mr Lansley, not sure if he picked up on that point when the question was posed by the RCGP Chair.

I truly enjoyed my experience at this year’s conference. I met some great people, learnt some new concepts and ideas and was truly entertained. All I can think about is what mayhem will ensue when conference returns to Glasgow next year….

I did however enjoy the stream of questions. With an impromptu vote which showed the majority of the attendants against the health bill, to the question asking Andrew Lansley to clarify his definition of privatisation, as he has stated this bill is not about privatisation. This question was made more poignant and humorous when posed  with reference to Bill Clinton and his ‘definition’ of sexual relations with a certain lady (many thanks @PeteDeveson). Another rumble of laughter was also generated when discussing practice boundaries and whether it would benefit people with second homes, as agreed by Mr Lansley, not sure if he picked up on that point when posed by the RCGP Chair.

I truly enjoyed my experience at this years conference. I met some great people, learnt some new concepts and ideas, and was truly entertained. All I can think about is what mayhem will ensue when conference returns to Glasgow next year….

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