- Posted Wednesday December 9, 2015
‘The Future of General Practice’ and the case for change
I was invited to attend an event regarding the ‘Future of General Practice’ which was organised for all practices in my area. As the guest speaker was Sir Sam Everington - a GP at Tower Hamlet as well as a Chair of Tower Hamlet CCG - I anticipated there would be a lot of interest in this event. However, much to my disappointment, there were only a small group of clinicians and practice managers who had actually taken time out from their daily routines to attend.
The opening ceremony speech was delivered by Chair of Bradford Districts CCG (BDCCG) and Chief Executive of Local Medical Committee (LMC). The speech surrounded the argument that despite the challenges we face in general practice and the multiple drivers which has precipitated the ‘current crisis’ (including ageing population, increase in workload, recruitment crisis, funding cuts and increase in patient expectations) we need to build a sustainable future for general practice.
This was a motivational speech to galvanise practices and remind GPs how as ‘great leaders’ and ‘innovators’ in primary care this is the ‘case to change’ and develop one voice for general practice. We were encouraged to adopt new ways of working and create opportunities to develop primary care at scale and channel this through the formation of federations.
Sir Sam Everington shared his experience of transforming care in Tower Hamlet and changing the face of general practice. He described his work around ‘new models of care’ where they had moved from a ‘traditional medical model’ and delivered care in partnership with local providers to improve the health and well being of the total population. This includes developing relationships with community providers, establishing a community interest company and social enterprises. He described the projects and activities at the Bromley by Bow Centre and how this helped improve the health and well being of the local population. The key message was to develop new relationships and work in partnership to deliver a holistic model of care.
For many practices this may be a new concept, but this approach resonates with some of the work already happening within our locality and pockets of my area, but the challenge is: how do we scale this up across the district? This will require a fresh approach, embracing a new culture, and working across the many different organisations and voluntary sectors, the coming together of Health & Social care professionals to help drive change and most importantly a commitment to deliver.
We have a number of practices forming networks and federations in a formal or informal entity still trying to find their feet and a common purpose. However, before they embark on this journey, individual practices will need to put aside their differences, historical baggage, internal politics, inherited practice cultures and inertia to change.
If we truly want to build a sustainable future in general practice then there has to be a rekindle of trust across practices with a shared vision and common purpose. To improve the health and well being of local population we will need to integrate minds and focus on relationships and partnership working within the communities for the community.