An audience of more than 150 listened to keynote speaker Dr Robert Varnam, Head of General Practice Development at NHS England, talk about delivering more of the potential of primary care by working differently.

He was appearing at the first Surrey Heartlands Showcase Workshop: Time for Care in General Practice which was designed to look at the sustainable future of the NHS and primary care.

As part of the General Practice Development Programme,  NHS England wants GP practices to look at how they can work differently and also manage demand in order to make their practices more sustainable.

Dr Varnam listed ways to achieve this as 10 High Impact Actions aimed at helping to free up GP time to enable them to deliver more clinical care.

Dr Varnam explained that these actions are a ‘quick route’ into how practices can make improvements and make themselves more sustainable. They are all based on real-life successes and one of the aims of the initiative is to highlight and spread innovations so practices can learn from what has worked elsewhere.

What are the 10 High Impact Actions?

  1. Active signposting – Providing patients with a first point of contact that directs them to the most appropriate source of help. Web and app-based portals can also be used for this.
  2. New consultation types – Introducing phone and email consultations, for example, to help improve continuity and convenience for the patient, and reducing clinical contact time
  3. Reduce DNAs
  4. Develop the team – Broaden the workforce in order to reduce demand for GP time and connect the patient directly with the most appropriate professional.
  5. Productive work flows – Introduce new ways of working which enable staff to work smarter, not harder.
  6. Personal productivity – Support staff to develop their personal resilience and learn skills that enable them to work in the most efficient way possible.
  7. Partnership working – Create partnerships and collaborations with other practices and providers in the local health and social care system.
  8. Social prescribing – Use referral and signposting to non-medical services in the community that increase wellbeing and independence.
  9. Support self care – Take every opportunity to support people to play a greater role in their own health and care.
  10. Develop quality improvement expertise – Develop a specialist team of facilitators to support service redesign and continuous quality improvement.

After some break-out sessions, a presentation on ‘The Surrey Heartlands Perspective’  was delivered by Dr Claire Fuller, Senior Responsible Officer, Matthew Tait, Joint Accountable Officer the Surrey Heartlands CCGs  and David McNulty, Independent Chair of Surrey Heartlands and recently retired chief executive at Surrey County Council.

They examined what makes the Surrey Heartlands Partnership unique amongst other Partnerships, transforming local healthcare through the ‘Roadmap for Devolution’, citizen-led engagement and the work of the Clinical Academy.

Other speakers were Professor Simon de Lusignan of Surrey University and GP tutor Dr Hamish Whitaker on GP education and appraisal, GP research and SCALE (the Surrey Health and Social Care Analytics Linked Ecosystem).

Audience feedback is being compiled and will inform the design of similar events.  The presentations were all filmed and these plus a short summary film will be available on our website soon.