A lifeline for practices in need in Primary Care Development

The RCGP provide a range of services to primary care through the Primary Care Development team, supporting practices with preparation for CQC inspections, coaching, mentoring, and team building or helping Commissioners, CCGs and UHBs wishing to run a program of support regionally.

The team is made up of GPs, nurses, and practice managers (known as PCD Advisers) who respond to requests for support as they arise. The Advisers are very experienced and support each other both informally and at regular training sessions. A GP partner for 24 years, I joined the team two years ago just before the pandemic started. My first meeting with a practice was therefore via Teams, which was a world of difference from the face-to-face visits I was expecting when I applied.

The practices we work with have diverse needs and are spread throughout England and Wales. Common issues are recruitment and retention of staff, CQC inspection ratings, leadership issues or dysfunctional teams. There is no fixed answer to any of these problems and solutions are tailored to the individual practices, which is why developing an understanding of how the practice runs is so important.

In person visits resumed in summer 2021 and gave me a chance to meet many of the practice staff, get a feel for the ethos of the practices and the morale of the teams. Finding time for meetings can be challenging for partners in a busy practice but it forms an invaluable part of the process. Working with the partners and management, we look for solutions and necessary change. Obviously it can lead to difficult conversations; in fact one GP told me I was a bit like Gordon Ramsay without the swearing. I am sure that was meant to be a compliment!

Primary care is the lynchpin of the NHS and has shown great adaptability and professionalism throughout the pandemic. This has not been without cost to practices exacerbating issues that were already there. With an urgent booster programme on the horizon and overwhelmed services in secondary care the pressures are likely to get worse. 

The Primary Care Development team is there to offer support to colleagues in primary care through this challenging time. I am grateful to be a part of it. 

About the writer

This post was written by Dr Julie Grigg, Primary Care Development Adviser. 

If you are interested in receiving support, get in touch with the Primary Care Development team.

PCD are recruiting GP advisers in the following regions: North West England, North East England, North Wales. These applications are being received and processed on a rolling basis. Please contact practicesupport@rcgp.org.uk to find out more and apply.