RCGP logoHard-pressed GPs who have bright ideas for improving patient care can apply to become 'Innovation Fellows' in a recent initiative launched by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) in collaboration with the Peter Sowerby Foundation. 

The RCGP CIRC Sowerby Innovation Fellows programme has been set up to support time-poor GPs who are keen to be innovative but cannot take their ideas forward because they are trying to cope with the dual pressures of ever-increasing workloads and funding shortages.

The programme will run for three years from 2014. Five GPs will be selected each year to develop and implement their ideas, with the aim of replicating these in other GP surgeries across the UK.

These will include proposals to:

• improve patient outcomes
• improve the quality of working lives for those working in general practice 
• transform the way primary care services are delivered

Dr Imran Rafi, Chair of the RCGP’s Clinical Innovation and Research Centre, who will be leading the programme said: “GPs carry out 90% of patient contacts in the NHS for only 9% of the overall NHS budget and we are already struggling to cope with day to day pressures.

"There are many GPs who have excellent, and often simple, ideas that could make a positive difference to general practice and patient care but too often, these slip through the net due to a lack of time and funding.

“This programme will give innovative GPs the dedicated time and funding they need to develop those ideas and we will see huge benefits for patients and wider general practice. The College is extremely grateful to the Peter Sowerby Foundation for providing the funding that will allow a number of important, innovative ideas to come to the fore."

GPs are being asked to submit applications - including their proposals - to become an Innovation Fellow from 18 November 2013. The proposal must be GP-led and joint applications with partner organisations, such as charities, universities and social enterprises will be considered.