Viewpoint: CCG leaders need to 'reframe' the problems facing general practice

One of the things that leaders are supposed to do is 'reframe'. Examples include taking a problem and making a challenge out of it.

Indeed, JFK once said: 'When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.'

This is a great example of reframing but not actually correct linguistically. What would you expect from a man who described himself as a hamburger?

Right now we are facing a crisis in general practice - we must be because the RCGP is telling us so. The crisis even made it onto ITV last Thursday. The Tonight programme looked at two aspects, the rising tide of demand and the fall in funding and numbers of GPs. Rather like Kennedy, the two things are not directly related, but do need sorting.

GP careers need to be more sustainable

The programme showed both crisis and opportunity, A GP in Ormskirk working hard but unable to recruit and another at mission control in Manchester running video consultations with patients on a set up that most gamers would die for.

Our reframe needs to go further. Self care needs to be mainstreamed and rewarded. Conditions of work for existing GPs need to be reviewed and recreated in such a way that retirement becomes a less enticing option and careers become sustainable. Most importantly, the way we work needs to evolve to allow us to do more with less.

But the latter can only happen when we stop asking 'how can I do this better' and start asking 'what can I do that delivers the best result'. Reframe now, while we still have a picture to be proud of...

  • Dr Chris Mimnagh is a GP and co-director of clincial strategy at Liverpool Health Partners.

Photo: UNP

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