The Chief Executive of the Royal College of General Practitioners will step down from his position, following six years in the role.
It has been officially confirmed that Neil Hunt will move on from his current duties in due course.
Hunt’s tenure has generally been considered a success, and the news of his leaving the position brought tributes from colleagues.
Leaders at the college have particularly proclaimed his role in campaigning for a rise in GP funding, something that has been achieved over the last couple of years.
General practice will see its share of the overall NHS budget increased to more than 10% by the end of the decade, as part of plans documented in the GP Forward View.
Although many believe that this figure is still insufficient to paper over the cracks in general practice, it still represents a significant achievement.
Speaking at the 2016 RCGP conference in Harrogate, Hunt spelled out how growing concern about the crisis facing general practice had developed into the college’s “Put patients first: back general practice” campaign.
The Chief Executive had illustrated that a 16% rise in GP workload, based on a growing number of consultations over the last seven years, was effectively crippling general practice.
This was exacerbated by falling GP numbers, and the strong case made clearly contributed to the shifting attitude towards this critical aspect of the healthcare system.
Hunt stated that it is necessary for the college campaign to strongly communicate the message that the profession is facing a crisis at present.
But he also believed that remaining in crisis mode for an excessive period of time would be a mistake.
“We don’t want to remain in crisis mode. We need to be looking forward and we need to be introducing new notes of optimism and hope,” Hunt told the conference just last year.
However, Hunt also suggested that the campaign had played a massive part in persuading both NHS leaders and senior politicians that general practice required urgent investment.
And he had always proclaimed the GP Forward View as a major achievement, and was positive about the approach outlined in the document.
Responding to his decision to stand down, the Royal College of General Practitioners particularly highlighted the work that had done on launching this campaign.
Hunt was also intimately involved in moving the college to new headquarters in London’s Euston Square, while membership of the organisation had increased significantly to 52,000 people during his leadership.
RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard took time out to pay tribute to the diligent work of Hunt.
“Neil has had a big impact on the College and played a key role in making our work more relevant to the day-to-day working lives of frontline GPs. We would like to put on record our thanks to him for all he has achieved.”
College director of planning and resources Valerie Vaughan-Dick will become acting chief executive while a permanent successor is sought.