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Chairmans First Blog

Thursday 26 May 2016

This is the first of what I intend to be a fortnightly blogette, an insight into what being the LMC Chair involves, and some personal musings on the role and the state of the NHS around us. This is intended to be a personal account, and is not intended to be taken as LMC policy!

I’ve been in the role for 5 weeks now, having been Vice Chair to Sue Roberts for 4 years. As VC, I sat in on the various liaison meetings with the CCG, local FTs, Public Health, attended COG as the LMC observer,  met quarterly with our regional LMC colleagues, went to meetings of the executive team, and of course, the main LMC county meetings. I certainly felt fairly well versed on what was happening locally, yet admit to approaching my 4 years as Chair with some trepidation, not least because of the challenges we all know Primary care to be facing, and the general state of the NHS around us.

You might be surprised to hear then, that I’m actually feeling rather perky at the moment. We’ve just returned from a successful LMC conference in London (you can find my report on the website), and it’s a great opportunity to get the feel of what’s really happening nationally, and rub shoulders with some of our national leaders. The following day, Jill met with 2 of our more social media-aware GP colleagues and a media company to plan Somerset’s Facebook campaign. By all accounts it was a good meeting, and we’re confident that Somerset will be well ahead of the curve in taking up opportunities on social media. We feel we’ve got some good stuff going on in Somerset that we can shout about, and the positive vibe was further re-inforced by our practice having approaches from 3 GPs from outside the patch in the past few weeks. Maybe the worm is turning?

Thursday mornings are the time I set aside to be in the LMC office, and as far as possible we try to arrange liaison and other meetings during this time. Last week I did my first radio interview since becoming chair- on the subject of workforce problems (and hence difficulties patients experience getting appointments). Having my own desk in the office helps, and I’m hoping that I’ll absorb some of Harry’s knowledge by osmosis- he’s sitting just behind me as I write this, dispensing his own particular brand of wisdom to whoever needs it. I’d be sunk without the cheery expertise of the girls in the office helping me navigate the labyrinthine computer filing system that holds all the LMC documentation. There’s a huge amount of information there. The majority of the “stuff” that myself and the Executive deals with, arrives by email, and often requires (or demands!)  a speedy response. I’m often tempted to try to deal with emails between patients in the surgery, but have learnt it’s usually best to put them aside for more reflective and considered reply later.

On Monday, I attended the first Sustainability Transformation Plan (STP) meeting at Monks Yard, with representatives from across the Health and Social Care sector, and we’re still trying to discover how this is going to fit into the CCG plans for Somerset Together. We know that there is a pause in the Most Capable Provider assessment process  as a result of this nationally driven STP. Last night several of us attended the Somerset Primary Healthcare (SPH) AGM and relaunch. The LMC was effectively the midwife at the delivery of SPH a few years ago, and has been involved in discussions with them as to how they can play a significant role in the new world of collaboration and integration that we are tiptoeing into. We believe that the LMC and SPH will have complimentary roles to help practices and federations in negotiating services in the future.

Nick Bray

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