Leadership in the NHS is often criticised for being top heavy, loosing relevance and importantly empowerment as it is filtered down to those working at the coal face. There is a tremendous wealth of experience and a bubbling pot of innovative ideas amongst the grassroots. They must be nurtured, supported through followership and scaled to achieve impact. GP+ Networking and Fourteenfish have both been born from experience of the poor alternative. Duncan and I share a common background. Both GPs with multiple extended roles collected along the way. We have gone the step further beyond ‘wouldn’t it be great if…’. We have taken many difficult steps since starting that journey but plan to work synergistically to ensure digital innovation is used to bring the fulfilment back to professional development in general practice and for professional development not to add to burnout but be used to fight back against it.
GP+ Networking has been developed to support the expanding area of GPs who want an extended role (ER). This goes further than those requiring accreditation for their clinical roles. It includes clinical and non-clinical interests that showcases how dynamic a career in general practice is. I have attracted more extended roles along the journey to achieve my own in skin surgery. This is in part because the path was so convoluted and I had to do something to improve that process. I moved from a successful surgical career into general practice because of the stability and opportunity it offers, whilst maintaining my love in operating. This aspect of general practice needs to be shouted from the roof tops amidst our workforce crisis. There are others across the country that had learnt from this journey and who still faced it. What if there was a platform to connect people considering or working in general practice based on their interests, backgrounds or skills? There wasn’t, I couldn’t see it coming anytime soon so I got on and built it. It has been evolving ever since and my vision for GP+ Networking is exciting. But first things first.
Currently GP+ Networking is free to join and is profile based. It allows you to find others based on background, extended roles or interests. From this you can form group discussion or individual instant messaging to learn from each other. Documents can be downloaded from the profiles of others and shared.
Joining GP+ Networking is a direction of travel towards working in a way that makes sense for those working at grassroots. I am a partner and do my full-time hours in 3 days. Work has got to the stage that I struggle to call myself part time (or at least that is what my non-medic friends remind me). Innovation is needed to fight back from the inevitable burn out of continuing on the path of doing what has always been done whilst patients become older and more complex whilst demand throughout all ages seems to rise. I would like to mobilise and scale organisational improvements that focus on all the other aspects of general practice outside the consultation rather than taking the best bits away. Save time and share is a project that I am developing within GP+ Networking. Funding is the inevitable obstacle with any new initiative but I remain hopeful and the chances of that are increased considerably as the GP+ Network grows, so join now and tell your friends!
Dr Cathryn Dillon