RCGP Council 23.11.19 review

RCGP Council meeting 23.11.19

RCGP Members can access minutes here:

Image of visible papers for members

Council started with a warm welcome and swear-in of new chair, president and officers. 

Approval of standing orders and apologies for absences, DOI and IG and introduction of new national reps, faculty reps, other seats, and observers. 

Chair general announcements

Martin Marshall committed to the Fit for Future document for General practice and also that tackling workload will be a key theme to maintain the high quality of General Practice as it is a key threat. 

Other council members spoke and I said the following:

RCGP Council comment on the response to the Romney report

“I want to congratulate Martin on his election to chair and look forward to his leadership particularly in our evolving digital landscape for primary care and the commitment to tackling workload. 

However, I also present a challenge for your first meeting. 

Prior to our conference, our profession was rocked by the Romeny report into sexism at the BMA. I am proud to consider the brave women who stepped forward and whistle blew about the toxic experiences they had suffered while being part of our union as both peers and friends. 

However, imagine my surprise and shame when in the past week I was informed there has been no public response to the report on sexism in the BMA by the RCGP. I have checked the news feeds, the twitter feeds of both the RCGP and our chair, and our chairs blogs – not a single pubic response. 

How can this be? 

Of the four brave women – all are part of our general practice family, two are members – part of THIS family. 

Why has our college not responded?

My concern is that current and prospective members will interpret the lack of response, as the college being indifferent to the issues because we have a history of strong female leadership. What public assurances will we give that to our members that the issues identified in the Romney report are not here in the RCGP at both a local and national level?

So to our chair and officers, I ask three things:

  1. An explanation to our members for the lack of a formal public response to the Romney report at the time
  2. A commitment NOW for a formal public response by the RCGP to the Romeny report within the next 48 hours. We have waited over a month – a couple more days is ……..tolerable
  3. A now delayed, but still proactive adoption of transferable recommendations in the Romeny report to the RCGP in the key areas of culture, calling out bad behaviour, committees, limitations on membership of committees, internal communication and an outline of our own resolution processes in the RCGP akin to our colleagues at the LMC conference yesterday. Particularly with the gender balance in our specialty this is an area the RCGP should be leading not following in. “

I was not given a direct reply or discussion (Council process does not allow the latter at this point). 

During the first tea break- several members came up to me asking for clarity on what I was talking about- I apologise for not being clear. Several council members were complimentary and very supportive of me raising these issues. Some members were unsure if this was an issue for the RCGP and questioned the validity of the document. Personally, my view is the Romney report was an independent report that clearly highlighted issues within the BMA which have been universally accepted and ratified by the BMA and LMC conference. A lack of acknowledgment by the second-largest cohort of doctors in the UK (the first being the BMA) is a stark omission of the media process. 

At lunch I spoke deeper on the matter with other representatives, observers and our chair on why I felt this was important and I feel there is a recognition that this area needs consideration by the RCGP to ensure we are doing the best for our members and enabling fair and safe representation 

Review of trustee board minutes – 


But also a discussion on the serious event review on the RCGP  Brunei incident. This paper is marked confidential but several reps making excellent points. Particularly the positive aspect of looking at this issue, but also several questions on transparency and how we relate this report to our members. The Hon Secretary team will look at this in detail. 

I continue to hope for clear transparency of Council for our members (maybe even live webinars) simply to make my life easier.

Several other items were taken briefly ie Chief Operating officer report, the election of new vice-chair, the process for election, vacancy on trustee board for council ( I am not applying)

Chairs Policy and reports

Release of fit for future documents, GP specialisation, technology reports, pensions, and others. 

We then had regional reports from RCGP Wales, NI and Scotland. 


Motion to Council – Motion on the Prohibition of reasonable punishment 

Proposed and authored by Dr Rowena Christmas

That the RCGP formally adopts a position to support the legislative measures across the UK to prohibit the defence of reasonable punishment with regard to children and to enhance support for parents to use non-physical disciplinary methods which will benefit the wellbeing of both parent and child.

The paper is visible above and well represented and debated particularly on the wording and the possibility of changing the wording. There was a general view of acceptance of the motion and was voted as read. The result 

46 yes, 2 no, 6 abstain 

The motion was passed.

Motion to Council- Motion on a declaration of Interest as a condition of registration 

proposed and authored by Dr Margaret McCartney and seconded by Dr John Cosgrove

‘Part one:

That the RCGP calls on the GMC to ensure that:

  • All doctors registered in the UK make a DOI as a condition of registration.
  • Doctors can update their DOI at any time and must review at least annually
  • That these DOI are held on a register, which is publicly available and searchable, and where retrospective years declaration remain available. 

Part two:

The RCGP confirms its belief that:

  • All healthcare professionals should make similar declarations
  • A central register could then be used by others, e.g. journals and employers, which would save time, avoid duplication, and improve reliability and audit
  • The cost of such declarations should be met by central Government.’

Presented by Margaret with flair and evidence. I particularly enjoyed her request to shake the world and show leadership. 

The debate addressed issues of wording, intention and what depth needs to be declared ie faith, orientation or just financial/influential. A sentiment of a centrally held list would save workload and time for many and bring ease to the process. 

There were two votes on this matter part one and part two.

Part One:
I voted yes


Yes: 54, No: 2, Abstain: 0

The motion was passed

Part two:

I voted Yes


Yes: 52, No: 2, Abstain: 2

The motion was passed. 

Proposal for RCGPs 2020-2023 strategic planning

This talked about key strategic priorities again available at the above link for members. A good discussion was held about inclusivity and ensuring work was relevant to members especially the UK members. It is in the early stage of discussion and will be taken further.


Discussion paper- Relationship-based care

This was a paper available above. Key aspects considered the patient voice being part of this, the terms being used as the word relationship was felt to be risky and relational care may be an option. 

RCGP International Strategy

This was hotly debated given figures of the numbers of members in each devolved area being less than our international membership. Concerns were raised about the financial agreements and packages made in line with the recent Brunei case and the financial structures of existing groups that have been worked with. 

This was a long debate with several aspects which from my perspective revolved around a want to offer international work and support to other countries, but also be wary of the financial remuneration that it can offer and the balance it has on membership, being wary of where we focus our work and the impact this may have on those countries with their workforce. 

The result is this work will come back to the council for further in-depth discussion particularly in balance with the Brunei report. 

Routes to membership

An agreement to create a SLWG to look at how we have alternatives to membership like MAP. 

A vision for RCGP fellowship

A list of the new fellows was shown and agreed. 

I spoke on the document that despite my significant commitment to the RCGP in the past few years – is still not enough to convince me to be a fellow as I feel no personal benefit of being a fellow over a member for the financial and time costs involved. 

I appreciate others will value fellowship more than me

Local functions paper

This was universally accepted. 

No other papers were discussed next meeting Feb 2020. 

If you have any questions on the RCGP council meeting or process please feel free to contact me.

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