Help us grow GP+ Networking

This month marks 2 years since I decided to take a vision of a more productive and connected primary care and set up GP+ Networking. At first it focused on improving the journey of establishing an extended role like my own in general practice and has since grown to highlight what can be achieved if we work better together, across primary care but also with secondary care.

I have had successive knock backs with funding but never have I been told my vision was a anything other than the way things need to be. That has kept my focus.

  • We should understand our workforce so that we can unleash skill within it
  • We should provide care closer to home
  • We should share ideas and work at scale
  • We should build on experience and encourage innovation
  • We should have better peer support
  • We should listen when so many new GP’s want an extended role
  • Extended roles attracts new GPs

I have also achieved more than I realise within that short time and I am grateful to all the followers that have supported those achievements.

We have created platform that

  • allows doctors to find others with the same interests and backgrounds and connect with them
  • form group chats based on shared interest
  • share protocols and documentation
  • has boosted the image of general practice to medical students
  • demonstrated the possibilities within a career in general practice and provided insipration
  • allowed specialist trainees to explore general practice as a career option and talk directly to GPs.

GP+ Networking has launched in beta form and myself and the team have learnt so much.  We have lots of improvements and developments ready to put into action. This particularly surrounds quality improvement, working at scale, sharing practical assistance and accreditation. I am working closely with central organisations to achieve these more ambition goals.

GP+ Networking is more than a network; more than mentoring or coaching and more than an ideas hub. It is a grassroots movement steered by its expanding membership, who understand the difficulty general practice faces but want to celebrate and demonstrate its strength and adaptability to modern healthcare delivery.

Help us grow. Share the word. Register and enjoy showcasing your career through your profile. There are no rose tinted glasses intended here but through peer support there is resilience. Warn others of the pitfalls you have faced and learn from others.  Share the vision with you colleagues and help shape the future of GP+ Networking by feeding back your experience of the site and help pilot new features.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Cathryn

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Cathryn Dillon

Founder of GP+ Networking and GP Principal Cranleigh Gardens Medical Centre, Somerset

 

GP+ Networking is attracting medical students to become GP’s

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One of the main drivers that led to me setting up GP+ Networking was to demonstrate to colleagues what is possible within primary care. Many medical students make future career choices based on perceptions made within clinical teaching sessions. It has been recently highlighted by the Chair of RCGP that the perception of General practice in medical schools is often a negative one. I was certainly experience the “whether you like it or not 50% of you will end up as GPs”.

Exposure to general practice may be limited and focuses on core general practice only. General practice offers a hugely diverse career within core general practice but even more so beyond it with the increasingly popular extended roles.

I myself have taken my surgical skills and used them to provide skin surgery within my own practice. I am still in the process of developing this further. My career is constantly developing whilst I have a fantastic foundation within my partnership.

GP+ Networking caught the attention of Henry, a Bristol university medical student who had assumed his career would lead him into surgery. Through discovery of the range of surgical activity possible within primary care he now feels that general practice will give him the perfect balance for his career. Not only that, he is now actively encouraging his peers to register on the website to browse the possibilities themselves.

Turning heads towards a career in general practice

Our future career choices are often led by those who inspire us. Henry has found that GP+ Networking has done that for general practice.

Currently general practice does not get the same exposure within undergraduate training, let alone general practice with special interests and extended roles. If students are blind to those possibilities they will not follow us.

GP+ Networking allows students to search out GP trainees and GPs who can inspire them and connect with them on a one to one basis. Adding a personal dimension to career advice is a powerful tool and one that we should embrace.

I was an ST3 in plastic surgery when I decided to change to a career in GP. I know that there will be others within specialist training schemes whose life priorities or interests have changed and would consider an alternative career. The difference is now GP+ Networking allows them to look around and connect to GPs with a similar background and make an informed choice. This is happening even with GP+ Networking being in its infancy

“I’m an ST3 in Paeds but considering changing to GP. Thought I’d use your site to give me an idea of the additional roles some GPs take on”

I think the network is a powerful tool to solve our workforce crisis. When primary care is strong then the NHS is strong.

Why get involved as a GP?

Henry has also allowed me to reflect on my own achievements and recognised how interesting and variable my own job is currently. Being reminded of this when we are all working hard is important for morale. Teaching, mentoring and coaching are so important to energise our practice.

It can be an isolating profession sometimes. In our social lives many of us are more connective than ever via social media. GP+ Networking allows us to form communities based on our professional interests within a secure environment.

The larger the GP+Networking community is the greater it will be as a resource for general practice.

Be a part of it and watch it grow. Register now and create your profile for free.

If you would like to showcase your work as a GP with an extended role then please get in contact. We would love to here from you.

An Introduction to GP+ Networking- A space for innovation

GP+ Networking stands for a better way of GPs working together and provides a refreshing space for innovation away from the bombardment of emails.

As the membership of GP+ Networking gathers momentum we are continuously developing the site based on the feedback of our early adopters.

The introduction to GP+ Networking video was viewed on Facebook 1300 times in 48hours! Hits to the homepage were over 1000 last month. This is a great encouragement but we know that we have to hit a critical membership mass.

Strong membership will allow the 14955763_1354874164553048_4520353774883868848_n-2project to reach its potential as being the ‘go to site’ for all your professional development needs.

Remember that ‘extended roles’ are clinical and non clinical. A new extended role is ‘quality improvement’. If you haven’t selected it on registration and would like to please edit your profile.

Cathryn has big plans to build further helpful  functionality based on the bedrock of the networking site but first things are first.

The site is currently being used to find people of similar interests, run group chats based on those interests, find events and connect with those also attending.

 

 

Current feedback

“I’m an ST3 in Paeds but considering changing to GP. Thought I’d use your site to give me an idea of the additional roles some GPs take on”

“I was really glad to discover another GP on this site with a special interest in an area of clinical work that has always appealed to me. Finding colleagues that share a similar enthusiasm has given me options to develop my career in that direction.”

“All my relevant documents are sat on my profile”

Early adopters

We have a membership of 130 following our soft launch in August and 1300 likes on Facebook. We want to gather as much feedback as possible from our membership and ensure that Cathryn’s plans are prioritised to the needs of the membership.

Cathryn will be creating a group chat through the site for the most enthusiastic early adopters to shape GP+ Networking.

If you would like to be a part of that group and learn more then please contact her via  her profile ‘connect’ button. 

Register now

Tony Feltbower- how he avoided burnout

I believe that there are three ways to avoid burnout and continue to enjoy working as a General Practitioner: do something in addition to GP, always have something to work towards, and remind yourself that money isn’t everything.

I have set myself challenges to work towards roughly every five years.

 

My timetable:

  • 1982
    Started in practice as a GP partner, 7 sessions/week, 1:2 Friday afternoons/Saturday mornings. Reorganised the practice over the next few years to sort, tag and summarise notes.
  • 1983
    Appointed as postgraduate tutor in Coventry. This enabled me to become a co-opted member of the local medical committee. This provided an entry into the world of medico-politics. Most people might find it boring and something to avoid. However, I think that it is much better to be within a system, understanding how it works and how it can be made to work best for you and your patients, rather than just letting everything happen around you without having any control yourself.
  • 1983-1996
    Various clinical assistantships for 3-13 years in A/E, Rheumatology and Gynaecology
  • 1988
    “Doctor’s friend,” which entailed assisting colleagues with complaints and then for the Medical Defence Union
  • 1989-1992
    3-year Distance Learning Course in Occupational Medicine leading to the AFOM and providing Occupational Medical services to many local companies until my retirement in 2015
  • 1991
    Became a GP trainer
  • 1992-1995
    LMC Chair
  • 1994
    GP Expert Witness providing independent GP opinions on the standard of care of GPs when being sued by patients.
  • 1995
    In the days of Fundholding, trained in Vasectomies to provide a service to local GPs cheaper than hospital tariff.
  • 2003
    Cardiff University Expert Witness certificate
  • 2003
    Coventry Professional Executive Committee
  • 2007
    Clinical Lead on CCG
  • 2010
    GP Appraiser

Money

Some things, such as committee work, pay little or nothing but are important and help me to understand our work. Other medical work, such as expert witness reports, not only pays well but is very interesting and informative at the same time, helping to keep me safe from complaints!

And where does the time come from? Good time management, especially trying to do only those jobs that a GP can do, and delegating as much as possible to others. Do not aim to do more than seven sessions a week as a GP; use the other two (not three, as I believe that everyone should have at least the equivalent of one afternoon off a week to help maintain sanity and avoid burnout) in a different way, whether for no money or lots of money. And finally, keep your desk clear. So that I can start afresh on Monday mornings, I endeavour never to leave work on a Friday until all paperwork is completed, yet still get to the pub for 6 30.

Tony Feltbower
www.DrFeltbower.com


Further information

Society of Occupational Medicine www.som.org.uk
Bond Solon Expert Witness Training www.bondsolon.com
Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health www.fsrh.org
Association of Surgeons in Primary Care www.aspc-uk.net

New GP Network on the cusp of launch

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It has been 18 months since I first had the idea for a GP network linking those with special interests and extended roles. GP+ Networking is finally about to launch in beta form and I feel this cartoon summarises my journey beautifully. It is far from over but reminds me that what I am experiencing is normal for innovation and not a reason to stop moving forward. Now with the help of my supporters we can ensure GP+ Networking reaches its full potential for the General Practice community. We are currently working with potential sponsors. For further information contact us via www.medicalnetworking.co.uk

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

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