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Chairman's Blog

Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 8th May 2020

Sent to all Somerset GPs and Practice Managers This and previous updates are available here SGPET Covid weekly update with all online education can be found here Dr Karen Sylvester LMC Chairman first Monthly VLOG now available on U Tube General Practices' Alert State Somerset...

Testing Times

I never imagined I'd find a new 'mot noir' before we'd finished. The word 'Brexit' appears 69 times in previous blogs, and was nailed on as the whipping boy to blame for much unpleasantness during my four years in office. My first blog reference to coronavirus was on Brexit day-January 31st,...

This Is Not A Drill

I picked an interesting week to retire from clinical practice. Within 24 hours of seeing my last patient, the World Health Organisation declared that Covid-19 infection was more than an international nuisance and now officially a pandemic, which it defines as the 'worldwide spread of a new...

What Three Words?

This week I have mainly been in Weymouth, in a rented house by the sea to celebrate Mrs. Chair's significant birthday and retirement. Friends and relatives have come and gone through the week with a couple of fallow days to allow for rest and recuperation of hosts and livers. One of the less...

Viruses, Vectors and Valentines

It's Valentine's Day, but more importantly it's 'Foxtrot-it Friday' as our Practice managers will (nearly) be calling it from now on. Those who attended the LMC 'Managing your Resilience' day at Taunton Rugby Club yesterday know what that means: loads of shredding. Dr Phil Hammond, closing the...

Flake

Yesterday we were at the racecourse for my last ever Southwest Regional LMCs meeting. It’s a quarterly get-together of experienced lags from six LMCs to discuss how we’re all doing, share concerns and decide what might benefit from a regional response or action. We speculated on what might be...

Mamma Mia

Here I go again. Last weekend I was mainly in Stockholm and Copenhagen. ‘Scandi’ is more ‘noir’ than not at this time of year, and we had about seven hours of daylight as the watery sun scuttled along the southern horizon. As ever after a short break away there’s a lot of catching up to be done....

2020 Vision

'Twas two nights before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse My laptop was open and at the screen I’d stare In hopes that the Network specs soon would be there; I’ve seen the future, and it’s Networks. In case you hadn’t heard, the Primary Care...

A Christmas Hancock and Bull Story

After last week’s ectopic post-election rant, I thought I might need a compensatory pause, a fallow week blog-wise in which to calm down, but there’s just too much going on. We’ve got a brand-new government, and we’re going to be saved. Huzzah! In his first Cabinet meeting, Boris had them all...

Electoral Dysfunction

It would have been quite an ask for a man of my age to be up all night, but I had been prepared to give it a go. I last managed it nine years ago with support from the lovely nurses on Portman Ward at Musgrove, who professed admiration for my stamina and appetite. I’d spent 6th May 2010 -...

Grip and Control

Welcome to my Feast! Today is St. Nicholas Day, and we’re deep into winter, with the traditional escalation calls sharing and comparing crisis levels across the providers back in vogue. I’ve been involved in several meetings recently to look at beefing up clinical (GP) input into the Clinical...

Election Doorstop Challenge

It’s a gloomy Friday in November, and six of us are in London for the English LMC’s conference: Karen Sylvester (Madam Vice), Tim Horlock, Rob Weaver and me as delegates, with Jill and Mandy Mason attending as observers. Somerset has been given the honour of proposing the very last motion to be...

Somerset Calling

It wasn’t until late last Sunday evening that my post-match torpor started to wane. I’d approached the weekend in a state of anticipation and hadn’t planned much past the rugby World Cup final, which promised a brief but triumphant distraction from the assorted flora, fauna and debris fleeting...

Of Mice and Men

Having been self-employed for more than 30 years, it feels a bit odd having to go through the rigmarole of securing a salaried post, no matter how nailed on it would appear to be. The paperwork is endless. Who to ask to be my referees? Thankfully nobody asked to see the certificates currently...

Let’s Get Stuff Done

I’ve decided to take a leaf out of the Tories’ play-book. Somebody’s told them that if you say that you’re going to get something done often enough and with conviction, no matter how ludicrous, irresponsible, potentially disastrous, and destined to leave us all poorer and the laughing stock of...

The Rime of the Ancient Physician

It is an ancient Physician, And he stoppeth one of three. 'By thy nervous tic and trembling lip, Behold the CQC. The protocol files must be opened wide, We’ll peer in every bin; The inspectors have met, the schedule set: Let the bloody ordeal begin.’ Apologies for coming over all Samuel...

Yellowhammers and Werewolves

Oh goody- Friday the 13th. What else could possibly go wrong? It’s been a bit frantic since I arrived back on Tuesday from a spot of wanderwegging in the Salzkammergut. The lederhosen are re-waxed and back in the wardrobe next to Mrs. Chair’s dirndl, and yesterday I enjoyed no fewer than seven...

Being There

Ideas surge into conscious thought at the most inopportune of times. Sudden inspiration can hinge me upright at 3am, or distract me half way through a complex consultation. My superannuated synapses have a tenuous enough grip on reality as it is, and struggle to snag any fleeting gobbets of...

Fudge Factor

Can any of the panel suggest what’s happened to our greengage crop? It was all looking so promising just a few weeks back, the tree laden with ripening fruit. Apologies to anybody looking for nuanced medicopolitical commentary, but it’s August, traditionally the ‘silly season’ when nothing much...

Seeing Red

Democracy rocks! The people, or at least 0.2% of them, have spoken and we’ve now got a new Prime Minister, the third of my gavelship to date, and possibly not the last. I fear we might also have the government we deserve. Boris has taken over the wheel of the bus, turned sharply towards the...

Shocker at the Short 10th

Tomorrow will be the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon-landing, but did you know that a simple URTI changed the course of history? I watched agog in my pyjamas as Cliff Michelmore and James Burke presented the grainy pictures beamed from the lunar surface during the first ever all-night...

Waxing Lyrical

It was a genuine pleasure to catch up with our Primary Care Network Clinical Directors when the GP Board hosted a meeting to get them all together last week in Taunton. Most were able to attend, and it’s always useful to put faces to names. The overall vibe was positive, both for the meeting...

The Eyes Have It

Welcome to the longest day. Hasn’t the weather been just glorious? Assuming you’re reading this after midday, we’ve started our hurtle back to winter, and in only a few days our cleaner will tell me the nights are drawing in again. Never mind- we’ve still got bags of summer excitement to go:...

Panoramic Views

Panorama: Crisis in Care was a difficult watch. BBC cameras followed the Somerset adult social care team and selected clients/patients over a ten-month period and the results broadcast on the past two Wednesdays. It was a brave decision to allow the cameras in without any editorial control, but...

Networking

That was quite a fortnight. Within the first few days I’d become a pensioner, a grandfather (sort of), and then the CCG had received applications from 13 Primary Care Networks (PCNs), complete with 13 named clinical directors, by the specified deadline of May 15th. Only one Somerset practice has...

The Big One

With only five days to go until the deadline for new Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to submit their applications to the CCG, there’s been considerable activity around the county with most areas sounding to be making good progress. It’s important to remember that the submissions aren’t necessarily...

An Inspector Calls

Last Thursday afternoon, I sat down together with the Practice Manager in my consulting room for our first Annual Regulatory Review (ARR) call with the CQC. Since April 1st, these calls now form part of the new and targeted inspection regime. I mentioned them some months ago after a meeting...

Let Them Eat Cake

This week’s joint LMC/Training Hub study day at the racecourse seems to have hit the spot. The aim was to build on the Transformation event last November, with the focus this time being on the new GP contract, networks and neighbourhoods. The day was superbly marshalled by Martyn Hughes, and the...

Safe as Houses

Sometime last year, I marked every future blogdate in my diary, and I knew back then that anything I spewed out today, March 29th, 2019, was inevitably going to have a tinge of gloom about it. If you’re hoping for something chirpy and uplifting, then I suggest you think of these three weeks...

Five Go Mad Leaving Lilliput

Call me Lemuel. It’s not a name I’d heard or uttered for more than 40 years, but it’s quite cool, ripe for derivations, and just now feels appropriate. This was to be a fallow week blogwise, but as the Somerset delegation boarded our flight taking us to the UK LMCs’ conference, Jill suggested I...

Cryptic

Communities around which to base care arising from transformation of honied boroughs (14) That didn’t take me long- hours rather than days- and I’ll admit to a shameless attempt at widening the appeal of the blog, by targeting the cruciverbalists out there. The answer is the buzzword on most of...

Gunboat Diplomacy

Spring is sprung, and time is tight but marches on regardless, clutching a hamstring. Neighbourhood development has been prioritised with the new GP contract stating they should be taking on services from July (yes, this one), and I was invited to an initial exploratory workshop of the...

Incidental Music

You won’t be surprised to hear that we’ve spent much of the last fortnight dissecting and digesting the new GP contract. It’s a weighty tome, and the devil will always be in the detail but overall there don’t appear to be too many surprises. It aligns with, and supports, the neighbourhood work...

Elephants

It’s been mad, but now it’s all white. Grrr and Brrr. In the last seven days I’ve had engagements in Colombo, Kuwait, Bridgwater, Taunton, Petherton and Yeovil, in addition to the odd surgery or three to keep my hand in. I’m sure like me you’ll all have stayed up beyond midnight on Wednesday...

From Serendip With Pity

And breathe. Now that 2019 is full swing (or nosedive, depending on your point of view), it was good to get the full LMC committee together again last week for our first full meeting of the year, and there was much for us to discuss. Predictably enough, after a relatively quiet Christmas period...

Sticks in the Sand

Whisper this quietly but it seems that the system overall, at least using the parameters that the NHS likes to measure, such as A and E and 111 performance, ambulance handovers and bed occupancy, has coped significantly better this Christmas than it did the last. Not surprising, perhaps, given...

The Twelve Rays of (hope for) Christmas

‘Tis the season to be jolly and all that, but several of the women in my life tell me that I can be a right gloomy bastable at this time of year, and I really need to cheer up. A couple of points: Firstly, this is the way my face is. If God had intended me to smile he’d have given me shorter...

A Tale of Two Geoffreys

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of...

Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 14th December 2018

Sent to all Somerset GPs, Practice Managers and Lead Nurses This and previous updates are available here A Tale of Two Geoffreys extra blog from LMC Chairman Dr Nick Bray EMIS Viewer 100 day Endoscopy Challenge (YDH) The Cameron Fund Christmas newsletter Top Tips Flu W1A EMIS...

Lines of Duty

At last ‘dateline blog’ I was in London and about to set off up the river to the English LMC’s Conference. The LMCs from the peninsula had met up the previous evening in Blackfriars for a bonding curry, and Barry and I found ourselves sharing a table with Devon’s vice-chair and Bob Fancy, their...

The Wrong Trousers

It’s a murky Friday in late November and five of us are in London for the England LMCs’ conference. Last year was the first that had separate UK and national LMC conferences, and so we’re also having to cross the water to Belfast next March for a one-day UK meeting. That hardly feels like an...

Risk and Responsibility

The Friday before last saw Barry and I enjoying a bite of lunch together, reviewing a successful morning at the ranch. There are aspects of that sentence that might not ring true with colleagues: the fact that we had found time to eat, yet alone together, and what’s all this about a ‘successful...

Putting it all in Perspective

I’ve spent a significant part of the last few weeks picking my way through the roadworks metastasising along the busier trunk roads in Yeovil. Meetings there scheduled for 9am now mean leaving Taunton in the misty gloom. I attend the Alliance Development Committee, set up to oversee the...

Gone Viral

So, who’d have predicted there’d end up being confusion around this year’s flu immunisation programme? NHS England announced a few months ago that orders for flu vaccine nationally were well down on where they should have been. I was surprised; the new ‘split’ regime was well-flagged, and I...

Notes from the Auvergne

I promised myself that I wasn’t going to be looking at emails on our French road trip, but seeing that little red number on the home screen ratchet up to three figures in double quick time does tend to pique one’s interest. OK- so I’d only look at the headings, but then found myself opening one...

Hearts and Minds

Well- that’s certainly going to stir things up a bit. The announcement last week of drastic cuts to the local authority spending threatens to significantly affect the provision of adult social care and children’s services in the county, just at the time when the health and care systems need to...

And is there Class A honey still for tea?

Apologies to Rupert Brooke for bastardising his last line to make my first, but needs must and all that. Some vindication as well for Mr. Wilson, my O-level English teacher, who had assured me and the rest of the hormonal fifth-form that at some stage, we’d be grateful that we spent most of a...

Shout at the Devil (and his Advocate)

I first came across Dr Arvind Madan, until recently the Director of Primary Care for NHS England, almost exactly two years go. He’d appeared on a video link at a local event to launch the General Practice Forward View (GPFV) to the masses, and I got really narked about it. Maybe I was tired and...

Great Escapes

Last week, Jill and I found ourselves being simmered gently in the orthopaedic seminar room at Musgrove, for a meeting to discuss communications between Primary and Secondary Care. It was pertinent to the way things are going that of the twenty people in the room, only three of us had a link...

Le football est venu à la domicile…

It’s been quite a fortnight. When I nurdled the last blog into the ether, Jeremy Hunt was still Health Secretary, David Davies the lampooned and beleaguered Brexit Bulldog, Roger Federer was cruising serenely and inevitably towards yet another Wimbledon title, and everything in the garden had...

Feeling the Heat

When as yet unborn grandchildren gather around my chair in years to come and ask, “What did you do during the heatwave of 2018, Grandpa?”, I imagine that I’ll squint at the shimmering horizon beyond the salt-tanned windows of my clifftop bolt-hole, draw on my Meerschaum, and reply with a steady...

All Tosh and Cogs

Last Wednesday, in a pleasing boost to my acronym bingo score, I found myself at the second-ever CEC meeting, which is a sort of ‘son of COG’. You’ll be aware that CEC stands for Clinical Executive Committee, and it reports to the Governing Body of the CCG. The CCG Clinical Operations Group...

(Ke)Toning up for Summer

We are starting to get a handle on how we’re expected to build a case to use the Transformation monies across the county. Hopefully you might have seen the paper that the GP Board produced for the CCG, in which we stated that we felt that where possible the focus should be on sustaining existing...

A Letter between Friends

At long last we have had a meeting of the new LMC committee following the elections in March, and I’m optimistic about the future, at least of the LMC. A mix of young Turks and old wizened lags met at the racecourse last Thursday for a gallop through an agenda which encompassed most of the stuff...

The Cotton Buds of May

The Cotton Buds of May We’ve developed a serious meeting logjam in recent weeks, and it’s getting worse. Things were quiet over the Easter break, but new groups, including six subgroups from the A and E Delivery Board, have started meeting with increasing frequency. They are all aimed at...

Inflammation, Inflammation, Inflammation

Calor, dulor, rubor, tumor. Any first year medical student can recite and recognise heat, pain, redness and swelling as the cardinal signs of inflammation, and as she approaches her eighth decade, running on fumes but working harder than ever, it’s no surprise perhaps that the NHS is starting to...

Half-Term Report

This week marks the half-way point in my tenure as LMC Chair. To celebrate, I found a whole new COG meeting to go to, and it was actually rather good. In times of austerity, everything gets recycled, including the acronyms. I used to attend the CCG ‘Clinical Operations Group’ meetings as LMC...

Bytes in a Box

Not so long ago I had an iPad that enabled me to access all my email accounts, both NHS and private, and had I chosen to play fast and loose with my sanity and indemnity premiums, even allow a little online EMIS-dabbling. But for a few weeks, I have been woefully, but delightfully, out of touch....

Snowflakes and Heroes

Whilst some of us feared for what might happen when Harry left, the extent to which the Somerset infrastructure fell apart with the Medical Director’s departure still came as a bit of a shock. The wheels on his Sri Lankan Airlines flight had barely kissed the tarmac at Colombo, before practices...

Communication, Communication, Communication

It’s rare that correspondence arrives in the LMC office that leaves the team speechless, but a Taunton colleague forwarded a letter last week that left our collective flabbers well and truly gasted. It was allegedly from the Home Office, although the composition and grammar suggested that they...

Looking Shifty

This week I have been mainly having my appraisal, so not much time or headspace for anything else except meeting the other Chairs, a finance committee meeting, ministering to the Pethertonians, walking the dog, sharing a recuperative 6X, an artisan pork pie and England/Wales with a discectomised...

Don’t Look Back in Anger

It’s been a curious topsy-turvy sort of fortnight, not least when I found myself driving to work last Friday and nodding in appreciation at what Jeremy Hunt was saying on the Today programme. I’ll expand a little more on that bombshell later, but it felt that for a brief moment that the whole of...

Old Harry’s Game

Yesterday saw an emotional watershed moment in the history of Somerset LMC. You will be aware by now that Harry is retiring from his role as Medical Director at the end of February, and yesterday was his last ever LMC County meeting. He was initially appointed as Medical Secretary in 1996, and I...

Hopes and Fears

I had intended this to be a warm, mellow and comforting piece to ease us into the New Year. We waved the solstice off just before Christmas, and two days ago the earth swung past the perihelion, so the planet is now hurtling back towards the bit of the orbit that gives us our spring and summer....

Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 5th January 2018

All Somerset GPs and Practice Managers This and Previous updates can be accessed here and on the App under topics Hopes and Fears: The latest blog from Dr Nick Bray LMC Chairman Anonymisation of correspondence CQC Registrations GP in Somerset Brochure Anonymisation of correspondence May we...

Yule Blog

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas: shoppers are becoming hysterical, England have relinquished the Ashes down under, and the festive punters once again believe that, for this week only, antibiotics can cure their two-day sniffles. The email traffic into the office quietens down over...

Feisty Peeps

Well, that was fun. Last week I was at Musgrove for the annual Fresh Looks GP update course and caught most of the action, bar a couple of sessions when I had to be elsewhere. It’s an opportunity to catch up with old friends, and to put faces to names I’ve heard mentioned, but whose owners I’ve...

Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 8th December 2017-Now with link

All Somerset GPs and Practice Managers Dear Colleagues Apologies for a further Friday e mail, I forgot the link to the Chairman's blog, while I am sure most know where to find it just in case here you are "Feisty Peeps" the latest blog from LMC Chairman Nick Bray Kind Regards Jill Jill...

Frax and Fragility

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of a single fragility fracture must be in want of a bisphosphonate. Much else in the realm of osteoporosis and its treatment, for now at least, would appear to be a complete Horlicks.” Or something like that. My apologies for...

Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 24th November 2017

All Somerset GPs and Practice Managers This and previous updates can be found here Frax and Fragility (Jane Austen does osteoporosis) The Latest blog from Nick bray LMC Chairman Little things to make a practice more attractive to Locums & How to set up a Locum on T-Quest Saving General...

Black Friday

It’s a gloomy Friday in November, and I seem to be in London. Somebody, somewhere, decided that it would be a whizzo idea for the LMCs from each of the four home nations to hold their own one-day conferences to discuss matters pertinent to just themselves. We’ll still get together as the UK-wide...

Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 3 November 2017

All Somerset GPs and Practice Managers This and previous updates can be found here CQC - Provider Information Collection (PIC) NHS England funded mobile ECG devices - Expressions of interest now invited LMC Commentary - Items which should not normally be prescribed in primary care - link to...

Naval Gazing

It's Friday again and I find myself in philosophical mood. In my LMC role, I currently chair about eight different meetings with their own particular focus, function and personalities. Included this week was my first Team GP (Somerset GP Board) meeting since it became properly established. I...

Let's Dance

No matter how grim the news, you’ll have sussed by now that I try and infuse a little levity into my bloggage, as at least I, if not you, have to get to the end of it every fortnight. I’m as partial to a peaty malt as anybody, and we’ll sashay seamlessly into my natural affinity with music and...

Chorizo on the Chin

We had our regular liaison meeting with SomPar this week, and as with many meetings at the moment there appears to be a new sense of reality since the arrival of Nick Robinson at the CCG. There are likely to be some dramatic developments in the next week or so, but we also heard that NHSE/I are...

Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 15th September 2017

All Somerset GPs and Practice Managers This and previous updates are available here Wake up and smell the coffee-latest blog from LMC Chairman Nick Bray Developing your workforce studyday 2nd November Taunton Racecourse (Programme attached) please book online GMS 2017/18 Frailty...

Wake up and smell the coffee

Of all the liaison meetings we've had with the CCG, last week’s was the most significant to date. Due to an administrative malfunction there was a mix-up over the timing, but we were keen not to postpone it, so turned up at the LMC offices at 7:45am, armed to the teeth with coffee, croissants,...

The Birds and the Bees

I’m often asked, not least by myself, how I got into All This. I’m not hewn from traditional medico-political oak, unlike some of our more strident colleagues of national fame, in whom, if you were to chisel off a limb, you might find the names of Aneurin Bevan, or great GP leaders of the past,...

Locked and Loaded

We’ve been putting some finishing touches to the Somerset GP Board (SGPB) over the past couple of weeks, and it now sits gleaming expectantly on the launch pad, venting steam and ready to be fired into the fray. We’re now at DEFCON one. We presented the case for the SGPB to a meeting of the...

Somerset LMC weekly Update Friday 18 August 2017

Sent to all Somerset GPs and Practice Managers This and previous updates are available here Locked and Loaded. The latest blog from LMC Chairman Dr Nick Bray Somerset GP Board Update on SBS incident PCSE claims guidance Vaccine Update - Flu Special edition 268 - August 2017 Somerset...

The Blog Cycle

Let's start on an upbeat note. We had an encouraging meeting yesterday afternoon at Monk’s Yard to discuss the further development of the Somerset GP Board (Team GP). The overwhelming majority of the feedback we’ve had so far from the rest of the Health and Social Care system locally regarding...

Sounds of Summer

Hey- great job, everybody! We’re all winners again, so gongs all round, no doubt. For the second year in succession, the Commonwealth Fund has named the NHS as the best overall healthcare system in the world. Hurrah. The US came bottom of the list, with 44% of the population on low incomes...

The Shrinking GP Workforce

Much has been written about the worrying and potentially catastrophic decline in GP numbers over recent years, but have you noticed that some of your local colleagues appear to be wasting away before your very eyes? I’m talking biomass rather than body count here, and not only are their...

Rock and a Hard Place

The NHS has proved remarkably resilient over the years, but has been done no favours by the political own-goals of the past 12 months. Hard on the heels of the latest electoral fiasco, we’ve had a Queen’s Speech that was brief to the point of curtness, and made no mention or acknowledgement of...

Here’s One I Prepared Earlier

Necessity is the mother of invention and all that, and as I'll be somewhere near the bottom end of the Via Rhona by the blog witching hour, instead of hammering out 1500 words in the early hours of Friday morning, I've been simmering most of this on a low heat for a few days. I wanted you to...

Five Head NNW in 'Direction of Travel' Shocker

As ever, there’s a heap of stuff going on at the moment. Different areas of the county are starting to implement the new Improved Access arrangements, and we've been thinking a lot about how we align the different Primary Care organisations to work with other bodies in the STP process. The...

Lame and Limping

We could have had "Weak and Wobbly", "Feeble and Floppy", or "Puny and Prostrated", but given the state of my left peg, the Ls have grabbed the title honours. Having shoe-horned eight Ss into a fourteen-letter title a few months ago, I've developed an aversion to anything beginning with S, and...

A Fairytale Year

A Fairytale Year Once upon a time, long before any evil rulers had dreamt up CCGs, PCTs, PCGs, HAs and FHSAs, Somerset GP services were run by the Family Practitioner Committee (FPC), based in Weston Super Mare. My first senior partner had the FPC administrator (note the singular) on speed...

Should have been a vet?

This week, I've mainly been herding cats, lining up ducks and identifying elephants. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you'll have heard a lot of talk about the STP, but the chances are that you probably wouldn't choose it as your specialist subject if suddenly roped in...

Alternative Canary

I'm just back from a week trekking around La Gomera, the smaller and lusher Canary island nestling safely to the west of the lobstered hordes on the beaches of Tenerife. It's a dramatically beautiful place, but lush implies moisture, and the first few days of the trip were characterised by...

SPQS and SSs' SOSs

The new Somerset Practice Quality Scheme (SPQS) specification for 2017-8 arrived in practices last week. We know from NHS England that Simon Stevens has been taking a personal interest in the scheme, not least because it's widely accepted that the days of QOF are numbered. NHSE want the outcomes...

Currying Favour

Last Friday was an important day in the calendar for Harry and I, as we both donned silk stockings, breeches and powdered wigs to celebrate the birthday of the notable diarist, Samuel Pepys. We share an alma mater, and the college would serve a slap-up 17th century meal every year on February...

Ab Fab

No, we're not discussing the latest in six-pack sculpting apps, or Patsy and Edina’s take on the STP. Google News aficionados might be familiar with their chart displaying the timeline of trending news stories from around the world. We could produce something similar for important documents and...

Alternative Reflections

February 3rd 2017 It's been a great fortnight, a really great fortnight. Frantic and tremendous! And fantastic. We have the best fortnights, we really do. Period. Lord help us. The day job is hectic enough, but I also seem to have had all sorts of extra meetings and urgent phone calls...

The Dead Canary Sketch

In the months and years before I became gavel-monitor, I used to worry about the system going bosom-side up on my watch. I stopped fretting sometime last year when I realised there was little point, and I couldn't be expected to single-handedly save the NHS. We all know we're heading for a...

Thin Ice

So how was it for you? At least the madness is all over for another year, and I know that Spring must be nearly here as our fabled cleaner already insists the evenings are drawing out. There’s a scene from the film “Battle of Britain”, where the RAF top brass are in the ops room, looking down...

LMC Chairman's Festive Blog

***** ******* is coming to town! Implementation is everything. As Santa Claus pokes round for that elusive can of WD40, and struggles to recall precisely how he applies Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity so he can do all he has to, the local Health and Social Care leadership are moving...

Hearsay or Heresy?

I’ve got my third Christmas dinner lined up for tomorrow, but still have the best part of two blogs to cobble before the big day- so how does that work? My practice staff will tell you that I love the build-up to Christmas (that’s love with a capital “H”), and so I’ll do my best to keep it...

Fresh Looks, Thin Skin

This week I have mainly been improving my mind, or at least refreshing my looks, at the annual GP-updating week at Musgrove. It's a great opportunity to catch up with GP colleagues and also bump into consultant friends in the corridors. The years march on, and there now appear to be tables in...

Trumped

In times of stress and uncertainty, whether personal, professional or global, it's probably wise to have a plan. I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the US election result this week and the prospect of Uncle Donald playing keepy-uppy with the nuclear football, but recently I found...

The Disease of Unease

Is it just me, or has the medical news recently turned even more bleak than usual? The GMC said yesterday in their Annual Report that morale in the NHS is at an all-time low, doctors in training feel a sense of alienation, and a 'state of unease' exists within the medical profession. They go on...

Gongs Galore!

You've got to hand it to the government- they couldn't be more in touch with us hackers and hewers at the NHS coalface if they arrived with their gold-plated picks and got stuck in themselves. The problematic nub of GP morale has now got the podgy digit of Health Minister Philip Dunne well and...

Can I offer anyone a TUE?

The Friday before last I found myself talking about the STP (Sustainability and Transformation Plan) again. I do seem to have banged on about it in quite a few different settings and forums, including here, but this was rather different, not least because I was wearing a dinner jacket. Those of...

We need to talk about KP

Kevin Pietersen and Katie Price must be chuffed as nuts- KP nuts, you'd presume- that somebody with the same moniker, has found themselves dumped into the limelight and is now taking the sort of flak previously experienced by the preening ex-England cricketer and the pneumatic reality person....

It's been fun, but....

This is almost certainly my last blog, as I've been head-hunted for a new job. I know I'm only just getting into my stride with the chairing thing, and actually quite enjoying it, but this sounds too good an opportunity to miss. Somebody wants my services and has been desperate to get me to...

The Silly Season

I used to enjoy August. Tales of kitesurfing donkeys and vegetables shaped like Kylie Minogue made the front pages of the papers, simply because there wasn't any other news. The world would quietly shut down for the month to go on its hols, and our practices were quieter as well. This year it's...

Strops and Spots

The locum situation, previously merely dire, is now as critical as it has ever been. We know from the locum agency that there are hundreds of locum requests for August that they will be unable to fill. Not only are exhausted doctors unable to take much-needed leave, but it has also meant some of...

Things are hotting up

So what do you think of the new stuff on the web social media enticing GPs to come and work in Somerset https://gpinsomerset.com (twitter @GPinSomerset)? Jill and the team have done a great job, and if I wasn't gainfully employed here already, I'd certainly be tempted to up-sticks and apply for...

Post Brexit. Maintenant le chat est vraiment parmi les pigeons...

It's been a busy week since getting back from France. On Monday evening we held our CRG/executive meeting, and went through the agendas for Thursday's meetings. We also discussed what implications the Brexit vote might have for the NHS. The truth is, of course, that at the moment nobody can...

Blog Trois

My first brush with Somerset LMC was in September 1983, and to be frank, I wasn't that impressed. As a final-year medical student, I spent half of my entire undergraduate GP training- 2 whole weeks- at French Weir Health Centre in Taunton. One of the partners was Richard Tiner, who was then...

Sustainability and Transformation

I hope most of our punters have at least heard of the STP (Sustainability and Transformation Plan). This will be the most significant document yet produced in setting out how our local health system plans/hopes to get through the next 5 years. If you haven't read it yet, I'd urge you to spend 15...

Chairmans First Blog

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...