Resilience: there’s no one size fits all solution for general practice

24 February 2017
PCC is answering calls from primary care commissioners and GPs to support the development of resilience in general practice.
 
Building on an existing programme of support for vulnerable practices, PCC’s resilience support takes a broader view of practice needs from ensuring short-term stability to facilitating the development of practice teams and collaborative strategies to underpin long-term development.
Julian Patterson, director of marketing, PCC, says: “System pressures are making all practices vulnerable in one sense or another. We don’t just need to worry about the bottom tier of practices that may be at risk of failure, but the much larger group at risk of joining them if they don’t take steps to change.
“The GP Forward View focuses on many of the areas that can make strong practices stronger, including developing the workforce and challenging accepted ways of working. Some of it is about improving the efficiency of individual practices but much of it is inevitably about collaborative working – whether in terms of a different workforce mix or closer links with neighbouring practices to share skills, spread workload, make efficiency gains or just find safety in numbers.”
 
PCC support for resilience includes a diagnostic process to identify areas for improvement and development of an action plan to implement the changes. Our delivery team has experience of working in general practice and expertise in areas such as access, business development, workflow and workforce planning.
We also support broader development plans, from exploratory discussions about collaboration between practices, facilitated sessions to uncover shared goals and agree a common purpose, to formal arrangements involving the creation of new legal entities from practice mergers to the formation of federations.
According to Patterson, there’s no one-size-fits-all definition of resilience.
“National policy tends to make sweeping generalisations about the future of general practice, but everything points to a mixed economy with practices of different sizes providing services more or less independently. Of course we’re seeing pressure for practices to modernise and scale up, but this can’t happen everywhere in the same way and at the same time. The support we provide to practices has to reflect where they are now as much as where they want to get to in three or five years’ time,” he says.
 
Reflecting the individual and collective needs of practices, PCC support for resilience includes facilitated “deep dive” sessions for individual practices following an initial diagnostic. Facilitated sessions involving groups of practices to identify common needs, issues and potential collaborative solutions often follow.
 
Where an appetite exists for further sessions or requirements emerge for legal advice or help with business planning, PCC can also provide support. For further information, contact phillip.stimpson@pcc.nhs.uk

 

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