Editorial: Resolution to change general practice

New year's resolutions might more conventionally be made earlier, but at only 20 days old, perhaps it is not too late to make one for 2014.

GP interviews east London GP Dr Stuart Sutton, who was behind last year's inaugural NHS Change Day, which prompted 189,000 pledges about improving the NHS.

It would be easy to dismiss NHS Change Day as meaningless management hokum, less simple to diminish the improvements that patients at Dr Sutton's Beckton surgery enjoy when they seek to book appointments or collect prescriptions.

Why should practices not take a look around at how their neighbours are working? As Dr Sutton explains, change could also result in your practice saving time or funding.

Last year, only a tiny proportion of those involved were GPs, which seems a shame, as Dr Sutton points out, because as a partner, he can call a meeting with his colleagues at short notice and implement change quickly, without seeking the permission of a roomful of managers.

Interested? Tell us your pledge on the story on our website, GPonline.com, then add it to the more than 3,000 pledges at changeday.nhs.uk in time for 3 March 2014.

GP's pledge is to do all we can to encourage our readers to take part.

With an annual £100bn budget, it might feel as though the NHS is too big to change, or the task to transform it too enormous. However, those who work within it should not be daunted by this.

Dr Vicky Pleydell, GP and healthcare commissioning lead for Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG, North Yorkshire, writing recently on our sister website, Inside Commissioning, said she had learnt that small steps and realistic goals brought change.

Perhaps individuals working in the NHS are better focused on those changes that are within their gift. As Dr Sutton says: 'A small change can make a big difference to patients. The combination of lots of changes can have a massive impact.'

Wouldn't making one change, however small, that benefited your practice or your patients - or both - be a great ambition to pursue in 2014?

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