Emergency Care GP and Urgent Care Leader

Kat Noble Dr Kat Noble is a very good example of a GP+ Networking coach.

She is an Emergency Care GP with extensive working knowledge of urgent and emergency care. She has over 11 years of current clinical experience working in pre-hospital care, GP, urgent care and in the Emergency Department.

In 2010 she was the sole nominee for the first North East (NE) NHS leadership academy clinical leadership fellowship from which she successfully graduated in 2012. She has a thorough knowledge of NHS 111 having held clinical leadership roles initially as NE Regional NHS 111 lead. After being invited to join the Department of Health as National Clinical advisor role for NHS 111, she further developed her expertise in dynamic clinical governance.

Kat’s first position at executive board level, as National Medical Director for NHS Direct, taught her how a mature effective board can work. She also held a position as joint Clinical Director for NHS Pathways and advised on the independent expert “Urgent Care Commission” group supporting Bruce Keogh’s Urgent and Emergency Care review. Kat supports workforce development and chairs the Emergency Care Taskforce for Health Education North East. An ALS instructor and volunteer doctor at the local race circuit Kat also enjoys keeping her emergency skills grounded.

Committed to her work but in enjoying her downtime Kat’s top priority is family life where she enjoys being a wife and mum of three, travelling and trying to beat her children in the “Park run”.

A few words about GP+ Networking from a GP trainer

GP+ Networking coachI was a GP trainer for many years so I feel I am able to say that the GP+ Networking website will become an essential tool for anyone working in or with Primary Care in the West Country.

It has been conceived and designed by an enthusiastic and very able young doctor who perceived a real need for an on-line forum to help with a wide range of Primary Care problems. If you need a job or have a job to be filled this website can help.

If you want to know what’s going on in CPD in your area – or even if you want to share a lift to a meeting or conference – find it on this website. If you want to network or develop a political career in medicine, then you need this forum.

Test your ideas and spread your ideas, develop new ways of working and promote what you are doing through this website. If you want to hear about the latest advances in Primary Care Medicine this may be the way forward.

In summary this website will be what its following makes of it. It could go in many different directions. So join up and contribute. You can make a difference very quickly and we should be very grateful to Cathryn and her team for getting the whole project up and running.

We wish you the very best of luck with this new and exciting venture.

Martin Minogue

A career in general practice is rewarding

A career in general practice is rewardingMy name is Ananda Pal. I changed from a career in general medicine to general practice. I had found that I enjoyed the general aspect of being a medic and that there wasn’t one specialty I particularly wished to undertake for the rest of my career. With hindsight I was fortunate enough that it was straightforward to sample 6 months as a GP registrar and since then I have never looked back. I soon realised that being a GP offered me a huge variety of interesting medical cases with often quite rare diseases initially presenting through GP.

As a medic I had always been interested in teaching, and took the opportunity to become a GP trainer which I find rewarding and adding some more variety to the week. Aside from spending time with trainees there are meetings with other trainers, which provide a welcome change from day to day surgeries.

I have the opportunity to use and apply other skills that I learnt from my time as a medic such as joint injections learnt in rheumatology. I am also the diabetic lead for my practice.

I find it really rewarding to work as a partner in a busy practice. There is a real sense of working in a team. We have moved into different roles within the business itself ensuring work is fairly shared. Partnership meetings are an opportunity to look at things with more than a clinician’s hat on and also a time when it is good to meet with the rest of the doctors. Prior to choosing medicine as a student, I had toyed with the idea of working in a finance based job in London. I now lead on the financial aspects of working in our practice so I get perhaps a little taste of what may have been!

I would wholeheartedly recommend a career in general practice.

Ananda Pal

Moulding my career as a GP

I am a little prone to finding hero’s who inspire me and drive my ambitions. These people have help shape my career as a GP and encouraged me to open new doors whenever I face them. Various conversations have directed my career from applying to medical school to the present and I continue to expand my network through my latest journey with GP+. The idea for the website really came from my own reflection on this.

At medical school I decided to become a plastic surgeon and enjoyed my time reaching for that goal. I loved operating and the camaraderie of theatres. However as I moved around the country and saw a narrowing specialist outlook in the future I started to explore alternatives. This accelerated with the birth of my son. I could see how I could establish the variety and face the diagnostic challenges of general practice whilst still maintaining an interest in skin surgery. I was doing local anaesthetic procedures in environments that could be mimicked in GP premises. There would be no more city commutes to hospitals and I could have complete autonomy over my practice as a principle. So I resigned my registrar training position, tested the water with a care of the elderly job for a few months and applied for GPST.
I wanted to continue to keep up my skills through my training so I made links with hospital consultants and had a mainly positive reception about how I could fit into the local systems and provide care closer to home. I did however face hinderance from the minority and was uncertain where to turn to overcome them. I also didn’t seem to fit the guidance and as my competencies exceeded that of a GP doing minor surgery. I was looking for someone who had also been through the process but this took time and came much later in training. I had spent an awful lot of time and energy unraveling red tape and politics.

Meanwhile I was loving my GP training, having worried about going back in grade. My experience made me a useful asset to the team and I found myself getting great training and I was confident in a lot of the patient management. I could also see what I needed to learn having spent 6 months already in general practice, which generated a lot of questions! I was also loving living in Somerset and making the most of the outdoors and being so within an easy drive of the beach. I finally felt settled and we were able to buy a house in a small village.

Following my second child I easily converted to less than full time training, doing 3 days a week as a registrar. I have done some operating during my time with the practice and on completion of my training I will be doing a session a week doing minor surgery. I have made steps to start my accreditation to do higher level skin cancer surgery using my reconstructive skills within my own competency when required. This still has not been easy but I have now found new support. I wish the website had been running early but it should benefit others make this process much more efficient and enjoyable. I have been tempted by other extended roles along the way and have found myself now involved in leadership, innovation and elements of GP training.

IMG_5514I have a much better understanding of the NHS structure and of local medical politics. I have also been to the annual representatives meeting of the BMA when I spoke in favour of motions that I felt strongly about. I have been using social media to network and develop wider understandings about how to be involved with shaping the future of general practice.

It would be wrong not to mention designing this website from scratch and working with the wonderful design team Lahive to make my aims reality. I hope the strength this platform will give the trainees and GPs involved will then transfer to greater influence over how training is adapted to maximise personal development and promote innovation at grassroots.

I believe there are so many amazing ideas amongst juniors but this must be channeled and coaching can do this. I wanted a networking and coaching website that put the user in the drivers seat rather than prescribed. I continue to work collaboratively with large established organisations to ensure the benefit to morale within the workforce and in delivering excellent care is far reaching.


Health Education England Ambassador

health-education-englandAs the founder of GP+ Networking I am thrilled to have been recruited to be an Ambassador for Health Education England (HEE) campaign ‘There is nothing General About General Practice’. I echo the key messages of the campaign

  •  A career in general practice is challenging – you will have no idea what each day will bring. You will have the opportunity to apply your medical expertise to a wide range of conditions
  • You will never stop learning
  • GPs are central to individuals, families and communities – you are there for your patients at every stage of their life
  • As a GP you have the opportunity to test your skills in a variety of settings – from working in the armed forces to applying your skills in other specialist areas (such as sexual health or oncology) to conducting research that could transform healthcare in the future – the choice is yours.

I see GP+Networking as a way of supporting the energy displayed for establishing extended roles in general practice. I look forward to showcasing all that can be achieved within this wonderfully varied and fulfilling career. Via GP+ we can network and magnify the strength of autonomy we hold from within our individual practices.

Reduce replication, maximise innovation!

GP+ Networking can help doctors make informed career choices and consider GPwSI

GP+ Networking ProfileI am a GP principle working out of Bridgwater, Somerset. I am Somerset born and bred. I studied in London a GKT qualifying in 2002.

Very early on in my training I decided I wanted to be a GP. I was very much attracted to the opportunity to work with a population of patients over many years, getting to know them and be able to walk through life’s challenges with them. I like the wide variety of opportunities offered in a career as a GP and particularly wanted to focus on taking a ‘whole person’ approach to delivering good health care. With this motivation, I went straight from my house jobs to GP training in Somerset.

I have been a GP Principle since 2006. Within weeks of starting in my practice, we were being asked to consider our involvement in Practice Based Commissioning. Heralded as the future of General practice, PBC soon came and went. And in many ways this has been the pattern of life working in the Health services. New pressures bring new challenges and demand answers. Whilst this can at times be disheartening, it can also make for a very exciting carer. Leadership opportunities exist for people who want invest time and energy into making the NHS fit for purpose in the 21st century.

After 3 years working as a GP, I took on the challenge of studying to gain further qualifications in Dermatology. This was afforded through the Diploma in Practical Dermatology course at Cardiff University and led to the accreditation process to work as a GPwSI in dermatology.

The pathway towards accreditation was not straightforward. Although guidelines are available and a curriculum of sorts can help focus learning, as so few take this route, there remains great variance in what actually should be done to demonstrate an adequate skill set. Which course demonstrates adequate surgical skills? Is the RCGP course adequate? Are further skills needed? What constitutes an adequate log book? How do you achieve the 50 sessions of supervision? Who pays for your time out of practices? There were no clear answers to these questions. The hope is this website will help plough a clear line through to accreditation.

I now work 6 sessions a week running a primary care dermatology clinic. The clinic has been designed to be paper free and runs entirely on the EMIS system. All referrals are received and processed digitally. All clinic notes are recorded digitally. All investigations requested, processed and actioned digitally. All clinical letters are created using templates and protocols within the EMIS system so that before the patient has left the room, the letter to the GP is on its way. Additional admin time is minimal. IT is the key to producing efficiency in the NHS and we believe that we have demonstrated this in our practice.

As such, my other passion in the NHS is working with our current IT systems and making the most of the functions they offer to bring about efficient and safe working. IT has a great role in supportive education for doctors and embedding education tips within the framework of a consultation template has been beneficial. I am currently working to expand this tool in our county.

Jon Upton

GP+ Networking can provide support to inexperienced doctors

GP+ Networking coachAs a medical student I represented my medical school at the founding of the European Medical Student Association in Belgium and a year later became mess President in my first house job. Alongside this came a representative role with a place on the regional Junior Doctor Committee and it was the time of the 120 hour working week and the successful negotiation of a seventy-two hour week and I helped in its implementation in subsequent jobs.

Thus at the first opportunity I stood for a place in my Local Medical Committee, I was driven by being a single-parent at the time having to pay for overnight childcare, with no reimbursement for my on-call shifts.

My drive was picked up on by the LMC Chief Executive who encouraged me to go to national conferences and stand for national roles. I was encouraged to stand for the Professional Executive Committee. My former course organiser encouraged me to set up and facilitate an educational group and to apply to the RCGP Leadership Programme. These more senior doctors belief in me and support was critical and I see that GP+ Networking can provide this to GPs now, looking to develop themselves in a special interest and leadership.

I like to listen to my colleagues’ views and try and impact on our working lives. Generally it provides less income than face-to-face general practice but it gives me an opportunity to do something about the frustrations we all experience.

Helena McKeown Ewing on the BMA council

Nationally I have been able to influence the healthcare system we all work in and our working lives in many diverse areas and I have been particularly rewarded by my work on the Standing Commission on Carers.

We are natural leaders in our communities, whether it’s cycle paths and air quality, children’s charities or refugees but at times as leaders we are vulnerable to public criticism and it’s vital that we are well supported by experienced colleagues. I feel that the GP+ Networking will supply this.

Helena McKeown

Why Harding loves being a GP with an extended role

My experience as a GP with an extended role

harding richards gps with extended rolesAs a medical student and foundation doctor, I could never find the one specialty that made me want to exclude all others. I liked acute medicine too much to be psychiatrist, and mental health too much for a career in the Emergency Department. In every field other than general practice I worried what I’d be giving up. So with my herringbone jacket and my bag slung over my shoulder, off I marched to GP selection.

I knew I wanted to train outside of a city, and I’m glad I did. Think of words like “radical”, “dynamic” and “revolutionary” and the GPs of Somerset are unlikely to spring to mind. Yet they have been early and enthusiastic adopters of new medicines, such as NOACs; they have organised a rolling programme of teaching throughout the county, via SGPET, that ignites genuinely useful discussions and makes the insights of our colleagues in specialist care easily accessible; and, whatever you may think of the concept, abandoning QoF for locally derived and developed performance targets was not a move for the faint-hearted.

Yet even so, I realise that there was something I had given up in becoming a GP – a niche; an area of my own, where I could hone my skills and develop a personal interest; a special interest; an extension of my role as a General Practitioner. Or so I thought.

For me, the route into having an extended role came in the form of the Severn Deanery Scholarship in Substance Misuse. The opportunity for ST3s to take a little longer with their training and nurture a new skill set was too good to pass up, and the rewards have been phenomenal. As a substance misuse scholar, I’ve had the chance to work in a community drug and alcohol team, and can now run my own clinics. I’ve been sent on part 2 of the RCGP’s course in substance misuse – a serious qualification with nationally recognised clout, and will qualify with the ability to call myself a GpwSI.

For me, the chance to have a specialist role alongside my work as a GP really is the best of both worlds. For the profession, it’s something of an antidote to the continuous workload that may grind down GPs young and old. And for the health service as a whole, it brings in new ways of working that can bring about those radical, dynamic and revolutionary changes to keep the NHS that we know and love going through the 21st century.

Harding Richards

Alternative GP career

GP+ Networking can help you achieve a fulfilling and varied GP career

Ever wondered how some people have the coolest jobs? Chances are they have just taken the opportunity to build their alternative GP career.

GP with an extended role is an increasingly desirable profession, which allows both cradle to grave generalism whilst allowing individuals to pursue their own specialist interests.

Whether accredited GPSI/GPwSI or an extended role in a personal interest taking GP out of the office, GP+ Networking can help achieve a fulfilling and varied career. Remove the chance element from networking and take control.

Founded by a GP trainee to help others achieve a balanced and stimulating career the GP+ Networking site is free to use, joining up the profession from medical students to GPwSI.

Launching in the South West in January, to be rolled out nationally.

Peninsula GPST1 Induction

Great day with the peninsula GP trainees and team at the Peninsula GPST1 induction. A very neighbourly welcome and a real positive vibe all round! Very positive support about GP+ Networking.

Wonderfully inspiring talk by Sir Denis Pereira Gray about the art of General Practice and how training has evolved.