Part 2 (click here to read part 1)
So how can locum GPs become ‘Champions or Leaders’ of the new landscape?
The commissioning lead role may currently lie with principal/partner GP, however this does not mean that locums cannot exert influence and those interested in becoming more active in commissioning should consider developing the following personal, technical and contextual skills and make them known to the practices where you work. Dr Risi clearly identifies the following recommendations for locums to consider in complimenting their existing wide experience of working with many local practices:
1) Deal with the ‘chronic condition’ or ‘impostor syndrome’
– as a trained GP you have a right to be involved in commissioning but this is a political role and is this your strength? Review your personal professional trajectory through coaching and mentoring and complete some type of team leadership training, such as Myers Briggs, in order to ‘manage your managers’.
2) Become competent in an area of interest or special interests
– with the likelihood that aspects of secondary care are more likely to be managed locally locum GPs with special interests need to make sure that they are not overlooked when these services are being planned; this means knowing the pathway and what factors contribute to disintegration of the pathway. Integration not only covers pathways, but also teams (the optimal integrated commissioning team comprises public health, commissioner and GP) and education programmes, so include primary and acute care/specialists on the same platform.
Be confident in your data analysis and ask the right questions, such as: who says and so what? Maintain regular clinical sessions because patients will remind you to humanise the commissioning pathway. Time management is crucial both for you and your CCG because meetings are expensive.
3) Understand the future of CCG and your involvement shouldn’t stop at practice levels
– if sessional GPs in Tower Hamlets are 61% of the workforce, is a reversal to full partnership likely in the future with the direction of current initiatives? Highly unlikely, so find out how elections were done and ensure that you meet the criteria in the event that the same are used again; know the key priorities for your area, for example emergency admission avoidance likely to be common; understand how information is devolved-networks, clinical leads and clinical managers- use these or feed back if information is not reaching all GPs.
Put pressure on CCGs to develop and update comprehensive communication lists and look for opportunities to position yourself, for example set up or run the sessional GP group or become liaison person between CCG and sessional GPs.
With the current pace of change in commissioning environment, CCGs need to be prepared because the details and implementation of commissioning are still very new and not clear, and as always subject to change- and not to mention the huge variations we will notice when the local delivery and plans to be put in place. And let’s face it, GPs aren’t generally that keen on change. The clinically-led commissioning and the new set up of CCGs has the potential to bring together many professionals and experts to deliver patient care, so let’s hope the GP leaders can embrace the new change and soon realise they could run the show with this special free-spirited, brave and fearless professional groups of locums by their side as strategic partners.
Jana Thanga, Founder and Managing Director of GP Consortia Hub – A Specialist Commissioning Support networkA Senior Financial Management Consultant who has extensive NHS expertise in financial management, budget monitoring, acute contracting, negotiations and implementation of new processes and systems.