In 2012, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) made nutrition and obesity a clinical priority area. Dr Rachel Pryke was appointed to lead a three-year programme as Clinical Champion. She soon realised that three years would be nowhere near enough, especially for a single GP. So in 2013, Rachel gathered a group of GPs interested in nutrition, weight management, physical activity and lifestyle. GPING was formed and we now have over 50 members. We communicate through a virtual network, but also have an annual meeting at the college headquarters in Euston Square. This is where the wealth of activities, new projects and networking opportunities can be discussed and shared face to face.
Aims and objectives
Although the formal nutrition clinical priority has ended, GPING has recently been recognised as a Special Interest Group within RCGP. Our aims are to provide the college with ready access to nutritional expertise and enthusiasm, supply representatives for nutrition related meetings, conferences and projects, and to gather GP viewpoints on topical issues of the day.
We also develop and share educational resources for primary care and create an index of links on the RCGP website. We have run very successful courses that have linked the huge impact of nutritional and lifestyle factors with chronic disease. Commonly downloaded resources are the Top Ten Tips on Raising the Topic of Weight and Top Ten Tips for the Management of Patients post Bariatric Surgery in Primary Care.
We have built excellent links with academic GP researchers and aim to continue, helping to broadcast their findings through meetings, conferences and developing practical information for clinicians. For example, we have links with professors at Oxford University who have recently undertaken a feasibility trial “A food‐based, low‐energy, low‐carbohydrate diet for people with type 2 diabetes in primary care”, with promising results.
The Future of GPING
After over eight years at the helm for Rachel, we have now reached an exciting crossroads for the group. I have recently taken over as chair, and as well as continuing with the above aims I have some exciting plans for the future. These include:
- Improve networking with the BSLM and other nutrition-related organisations, e.g. Nutritank
- Improve and collate the lifestyle medicine resources accessed through the RCGP website
- Expand membership of the group to include other primary care practitioners, allied health professionals (including registered dieticians and nutritionists), trainees, junior doctors and medical students
- Collate ideas about improving the food environment in NHS settings e.g. GP practices, hospitals and children centres. This is about starting in our own back yard and leading by example
- Consider forming sub-groups within GPING with clinicians who have special interests in weight management, diabetes, behaviour change, physical activity, research and education to name a few
How to get involved
If you are interested in joining GPING, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your professional role(s), location and special interests. You will then be added to the Google Group.
There is no onus on members to be active participants – some join just to be kept in the loop. Others have found this an excellent network for linking with expert speakers, finding research project participants, getting advice about nutritional training opportunities, or finding willing helpers for local projects.
Please also follow us on social media, our Twitter handle is @GPINGnutrition with the hashtag #GPING.
GP, BSLM Diplomate and Chair GPING