Collaboration is not just a matter of survival
23 August 2017
Working at scale is more than a survival strategy for general practice, but an opportunity to embrace change, improve the working environment and provide better services to patients.
For practices already struggling with workload pressures, staffing issues and diminishing resources, working with other practices may offer the only viable route to safety and sustainability.
Increasingly practices are coming together in neighbourhoods, collaborative alliances or federations to benefit from economies of scale, access to a wider range of skills, improved recruitment and retention, and opportunities to increase income.
Yet practices are frustrated by demands to work at scale that come with little or no practical guidance about why, and how, to do it. Among other burning questions, they need to know:
- Why collaborate with others?
- Where to go for advice and support
- Where to start – and how to move to the next stage
- Do we need an organisational form, and if so what is the form that works for everyone?
- What is the right scale?
- What are the potential contractual and legal considerations?
- How do we best position ourselves for the future?
PCC has worked with hundreds of practices to help them answer these questions, whether they are at the start of their journey or already underway, and whether they are working in informal networks or formal organisational structures. We have worked with large groups covering more than 100 practices, but also with those who recognise the need for collaboration but want to stay in charge of their own destiny.
For practices who want to be both big and small, benefiting from scale but retaining the characteristic of general practice that staff and patients value, GP neighbourhoods, such as “primary care home” offer an attractive alternative without closing the door to other forms of collaboration in future.
We also support emerging collaborations to develop the right relationships, culture, governance and business plans as many of those who avoid these issues will fail when the initial wave of energy and enthusiasm has passed.
We have worked with practices in England and Wales on leadership development – the critical factor in sustainability for any organisation.
To discuss your needs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with “collaborative working” in the subject line.
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