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Tower Hamlets General Practice Summit 6 April 2017

Posted on: 1 February 2017

THT, CCG, STP, TST, LMC, GPCG…… All clear? Yeah, we thought so.

The problem

Lots is happening, and we all have varying degrees of understanding/engagement with the changes that are about to hit Tower Hamlets general practice with the power of gale-force winds.  Some of us feel engaged and in the driving seat; others wish that communication worked better, so that there was a clearer idea of what our joint direction is. Others yet are asking, is there even a joint direction?!

The General Practice Summit

A few of your curious and concerned colleagues have now met a few times to discuss this dilemma (we're all signing this email). We come from practices, the care group, the CCG, Tower Hamlets Together. You know us (we think), and our intention was to crack heads to try and build a map of everything that is happening in Tower Hamlets at the moment. Initially, we just wanted to spot duplication so this could be avoided. Within half an hour, we wanted to work together to shape things in a way that felt meaningful to all of us – that includes to anyone reading this email. So we thought, can we get everyone together and test our feelings of "joined-upedness"? Create a vision that unites us, and get an idea of some of the areas we will want to work on together?

Commissioners and providers? No, thank you. 

We are passionate providers, with a strong CCG. But please: no commissioners, no providers. This is so 1990s. Never are you in a meeting where you hear "oh yes, I really love this helpful commissioner/provider split". We are all in Tower Hamlets for the same reason: to make a difference to our patients. A difference they can feel, a difference that matters, a difference we can measure. So let's all get in the room as system providers, and decide our future together. Clinicians, admin staff, commissioning bods – all of us bring talent and richness. This is massively important: it's about starting a new journey where our vision is to cooperate and design within the resources we have. No being done to: let's sit down and draw this picture together. Let's start now.

What the summit will look like

We're going to start with data. We're going to start with introductions. We're going to catch up with each other and get, as much as possible, onto the same page. And then we'll try to articulate what we want from our joint working into a shared vision and purpose. Nothing long. Nothing wishy-washy. Something that feels powerful, meaningful, and points to our future direction.

By the end of the day, we hope that:

  1. We will all know what's happening, and who is who. More or less. Who is tackling what, basically.
  2. We will feel like one group, with one shared vision and purpose underpinning our work together, because together we are stronger. We will have more trust.
  3. We will have articulated this vision and purpose. Into words, not (just?) hugs.
  4. We will have drafted the skeleton of a way forward. Something like, a list of things we want to tackle jointly. (GP recruitment, anyone?)

This summit is not the end: it's the first step of a joint journey, the first step of many. But we feel we need to start somewhere, and we need take time to build a solid, shared foundation together. Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing: let's kick off the Forming part of our journey. The rest will come.

Who should come

OK, this is important. Everyone should come. This is about nurses. It's about receptionists knowing what's going on, and sharing their wisdom. It's about salaried GPs, and partners, and people who locum here, who locum lots. It's about healthcare assistants, medical assistants, assistant practitioners, practice pharmacists and physician associates. But here's the problem – we don't have all their email addresses. So, action, please forward this on to all those lovely members of your staff who we don't have mailing lists for.

Other actions

We'll be sending around a spot of homework before the summit. Just to see what your sense of a joint purpose might be, to hear your good news stories, your concerns, and to see whether you'd be happy to share any internal vision and purpose statements you might have. Look out for this – it's not a group of "us" organising something for "you", so we are really keen you take a moment to engage in the event by providing some background info first. Just a spot of prep work. Skin in the game 'n all that.

If you want to do radical stuff, you need radical change.

Let's do it! We want to blow the roof off the biggest venue we can find – so please, it would be great if you could save this date, and start making plans for your staff to attend the summit. We'll be asking for numbers when we send around the prep-work sheets. But let's start a conversation and get some energy buzzing.

Register now!  Don't delay.  Go here -

 And please forward to members of your teams.  We want everyone to know about this and have the opportunity to be involved.

To a great day, and well beyond that.

Jackie Applebee (Tredegar, LMC)

Chris Banks (CEO GP Care Group and SRO Tower Hamlets Together)

Jenny Cooke (CCG)

Mike Fitchett (Island Health, GP Care Group)

Joe Hall (Bromley by Bow Health Partnership & St Paul's Way, GP Care Group)

Isabel Hodkinson (Tredegar, CCG)

Sue Hogarth (Tower Hamlets Together)

Ian Jackson (XX Place, PM Forum)

Balvinder Kullar (St Stephen's, PM Forum)

Chris Ley (Network 7, GP Care Group)

Dean O'Callaghan (Network 1, GP Care Group)

Virginia Patania (Jubilee Street, CCG)