Being a GP can be tough: it’s also a privilege

In surgery this week a patient came in, flustered, saying: “Dr Kanani, your job must be so miserable…” and burst in to tears.

Her depression had returned, and she was desperate.

But the equivalent of 3.5 appointments later she left the surgery feeling like she could get through another day. My job – our jobs – aren’t miserable. They are a privilege.

Developing the long term plan this summer, with the insights and help of many of you, meant turning that privilege into a real future for primary care and I look forward to sharing more of the plan with you soon.

Through 2019 we then need to make the plan meaningful for you, in your area and we will make sure you keep engaged through this blog.

The past few weeks in surgery have also confirmed that winter is here – it may be raindrops rather than snowflakes but we are seeing the profile and complexity of our appointments shift again. The GP Appointment Data published last week clearly supports what we already know – that there are huge demands on General Practice. While it doesn’t show the increasing complexity of patient needs that we feel, we will develop the data so we can use it to better understand and tackle the pressures our system is under.

The recent NHS long term plan announcement of an additional £3.5billion a year in primary and community care by 2023-24 will some way to address these pressures.

With winter comes the seasonal flu vaccination programme. We recognise that for some practices there will be an intensive period of work to undertake flu vaccination clinics, using the last phase of deliveries over the next few weeks. All deliveries have now been completed so please continue to encourage our patients to take up their vaccinations. It’s not too late.

We thank you and your staff for your continued efforts and hard work to support this year’s flu vaccination campaign. We’ve sent our details of the recommendations for 2019-20 flu programme.

As we come to the end of the year, it’s always time to reflect on what has gone before and to recognise great work too. Well done to all the GP Award finalists and winners. We sponsored two awards and the winners were brilliant in their ability to innovate and collaborate:

  • Collaboration with Patient and Other Providers Award. Won by Abbeyview Surgery in Peterborough. Based on patient feedback, set up phone call-back service & employed nurse to manage extra appointments

While the advent calendar chocolate is being eaten, and homes decorated around the country, can I take this opportunity to thank you and wish you the very best for 2019.

  • This article was first run in the latest GP Bulletin for December.
  • You can follow Dr Kanani on Twitter: @NikkiKF

Dr Nikki Kanani is a GP in south-east London and is Medical Director of Primary Care for NHS England and NHS Improvement. Prior to joining NHS England she was Chief Clinical Officer of NHS Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Nikki has held a range of positions within healthcare to support the development of innovative models of care, highly engaged clinical, patient and public leadership and is passionate about supporting primary care, improving service provision and population wellbeing.

She is a member of The King’s Fund General Advisory Council and holds a MSc in health care commissioning. With her sister she co-founded STEMMsisters, a social enterprise supporting young people to study science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine. She has two young children.

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