The Future of General Practice - AnswerTime broadcast Friday 15 May

By: Ben Gowland, Principal Consultant Ockham Healthcare
Published: Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 12:21 GMT Jump to Comments

General practice can no longer continue in its current form. The unavoidable question is what will general practice, the jewel in the crown of the NHS, look like in the future?

General practice is in crisis.  The average waiting time for an appointment with a GP is now over a week, and getting longer. 

The workload has become untenable, exacerbated by a recruitment crisis which will get worse as 54% of GPs over 50 are planning to quit in the next five years.  Net income has dropped by 20% over the last 10 years. 

More than a half of all GPs say their morale is low or very low.  It is clear that general practice simply can no longer continue in its current format.  So the big question is what will general practice, the jewel in the crown of the NHS, look like in the future?

I am delighted, therefore, to have been asked to Chair the May AnswerTime programme (to be broadcast on Friday 15th May) where the main topic for discussion is The Future of General Practice.

The AnswerTime format - "fewer questions, more answers and absolutely no political's better that way" - introduces a panel of four to an audience of forty experts.

This time our panel include:

Dr Stephen Shortt, GP Chair of Rushcliffe CCG, one of the vanguard sites for the new ‘multi specialty community providers’ (MCPs).

Sarb Basi, Managing Director of Vitality Partnership, the leading organisation in the development of new ‘super-partnerships’. Vitality is also an MCP vanguard site.

Dr Gavin Ralston, GP Chair of Birmingham CrossCity Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the fourth largest CCG in the country with a membership of 115 GP practices.

Monica Fletcher, Chief Executive of Education for Health and prolific writer and researcher, influencing clinical nursing and GP practice with dozens of publications in journals and books over the last decade.

Our audience includes GPs, leaders of CCGs and assorted healthcare delivery leaders. No doubt all of them will have something to say.

We will be asking our panel and audience:

• Have we reached the end of independent general practice?

• Do the new models of care really mean that general practice will be swallowed up by acute trusts?

• Do the changes coming to general practice mean the end of GP led Clinical Commissioning Groups?

• And (most importantly!) is there any hope for the future of general practice?

Given how close general practice is to all of our hearts and the passions that are raised by any discussion on making changes to the old familiar ways, I am expecting that the gloves will come off from the outset.

Ben Gowland was Chief Executive of Nene CCG for nearly eight years. He left in April 2015 to set up Ockham Healthcare, a healthcare management consultancy he describes as a “platform for change”.

Ben joined Nene as its CEO and first employee when it was first forming as a practice based commissioning (pbc) organisation.  Within two years it had become the leading pbc organisation in England, and Ben went on to establish it as one of the largest CCGs in the country.

Ben hosts RealityBites – The National Healthcare Conversation, a weekly online podcast.



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