Over the past 5 years, general practice in the UK has undergone major change. Starting with the introduction of the new GMS contract in 2004, it has continued apace with the establishment of Postgraduate Medical Education Training Board, a GP training curriculum, and nMRCGP. The NHS is developing very differently in the four countries of the UK. Regulation of the profession is under review, and a system of relicensing, recertification, and revalidation is being introduced. The Essence project, initiated by RCGP Scotland in conjunction with International Futures Forum 4 years ago is a constructive response to these changes. It has included learning journeys, a discussion day for GPs, and commissioned short pieces of 100 words from GPs and patients. From an analysis of these, some characteristics of the essence of general practice have been defined. These include key roles and core personal qualities for GPs. It is argued that general practice has important and unique advantages - trust, coordination, continuity, flexibility, universal coverage, and leadership - which mean that it should continue to be central to the development of primary care throughout the UK.
- family medicine
- general practice