The General Practice Podcast

Ben Gowland explores new ways of working in general practice. He talks to those making changes happen, gets underneath what they did, how they managed to do it, and the challenges they faced along the way.
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
The General Practice Podcast







All Episodes
Now displaying: 2021
May 9, 2021

Episode 255 - Podcast – Tara Humphrey – What makes a perfect PCN Manager?

Although the role of PCN Manager is growing in importance, alongside the evolution of PCNs, there is still confusion and misconception about where a manager fits and what they can bring to the primary care table. Ben is joined this week by podcast veteran and management guru Tara Humphrey of THC Primary Care to dispel the myths and to explain precisely how and why a manager can be of benefit. What they can do to support the work of the Clinical Director and the wider management team in facing down some of the challenges, how they can remove pressure from existing staff, what makes a perfect PCN Manager, how to find them - and if you’re lucky enough to already have a manager in post, where resources and information can be found to support them in continuing to thrive.


Introduction (39 secs)

What first sparked Tara’s interest in PCN management? (55 secs)

What’s the general practice perception of PCN Managers right now? (1 min 49 secs)

Tackling the workload (3 mins 9 secs)

What should the person spec for a PCN Manager look like? (4 mins 6 secs)

Is an NHS background necessarily required? (4 mins 36 secs)

How about experience in primary care specifically? (5 mins 49 secs)

Practice Managers for PCN Manager (6 mins 39 secs)

Combining practice management with network management (7 mins 17 secs)

Where should we target recruitment of PCN Managers? (7 mins 41 secs)

The key challenges right now (8 mins 36 secs)

Learning the role and the remit it encompasses (9 mins 22 secs)

Understanding of PCN vision and objectives (10 mins 34 secs)

What’s on offer to a PCN Manager when the network is still developing? (11 mins 41 secs)

Dealing with disparate practices (12 mins 3 secs)

Why the Practice Manager and PCN Manager relationship is key (13 mins 53 secs)

Where a PCN Manager sits within the network hierarchy (14 mins 30 secs)

Supporting new ARRS team members (15 mins 24 secs)

A summary of the key challenges a PCN Manager might face when it comes to the ARRS (17 mins 8 secs)

How Tara and her team can help (18 mins 55 secs)

What’s available on THC Primary Care and signing up for the PCN Manager Masterclass  (19 mins 57 secs)


To connect with Tara and to access all the resources available on offer from THC Primary Care check out:

THC Primary Care’s wealth of information on PCN Managers,  starting here

Sign up to the THC Primary Care PCN Manager Masterclass here

Listen to The Business of Healthcare Podcast to get the latest insights into business and management behind the scenes in primary care.

Follow Tara on Twitter and on Linkedin

May 2, 2021

Dem Dx is a CE certified artificial intelligence clinical reasoning platform which has been designed and set up to support frontline healthcare professionals diagnose, investigate, and make care recommendations at the first point of contact. What makes it a little different though is that the aim is to provide an information resource which aids and empowers staff in supporting roles to triage and diagnose, relieving some of the burden on medics. How does it work in practice though? And can it really alleviate pressure on GPs, particularly when it comes to supporting the new, additional roles workforce? Today’s podcast features Dr Lorin Gresser, Dem Dx’s CEO and founder, who takes us on the Dem Dx journey from the beginning; from setup and capture of certified pathways (and approved guidance) to preserve safe clinical decision making, why it is a tool which focuses on diagnosis rather than ongoing management, where they have a presence currently (and where primary care comes in) - and how staff in primary care access and benefit from this multi-award-winning platform.


Introduction (40 secs)

All about Lorin (53 secs)

When was Dem Dx born? (1 min 54 secs)

Where is Dem Dx operational now? (3 mins 3 secs)

How the platform works in practice (4 mins 28 secs)

What are the challenges for Dem Dx? (5 mins 42 secs)

A tool with a focus on supporting staff, rather than patients, in the first instance (6 mins 14 secs)

Helping primary care staff in supporting roles to free up GP time (7 mins 40 secs)

The benefits when it comes to the additional roles (9 mins 1 sec)

Focusing on diagnosis, rather than ongoing management (9 mins 19 secs)

Remote working (10 mins 3 secs)

Ongoing decision support or simply upskilling staff as they go? (10 mins 56 secs)

Funding and procurement (12 mins 5 secs)

Dem Dx’s Rwanda project (14 mins 25 secs)

Finding out more and getting in touch (16 mins 13 secs)


The Dem Dx website can be found here

For all enquiries, please contact Lorin Gresser via email or via LinkedIn

It’s also the last chance to sign up for The Resilient Team Academy offer! Head over to the Resilient Team Academy website which contains information on the current, discounted offer and how to apply.


Apr 25, 2021

A brand-new year for the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) has already begun so what do practices, and networks, need to be aware of, to ensure they are informed and ahead of the game, almost one month in? Our monthly Practice Index Practice Manager panel return and Nicola, Robyn and Ben are this time joined by Claire Houston, Practice Index’s expert on all things QOF, to highlight where there are major changes, what the changes mean in real terms, what general practice should be on top of now, the impact on patients (and primary care teams) – and most importantly, how to ensure you stand the best chance of meeting the targets set for 2021 / 22.


Introductions (29 secs)

More about Claire (51 secs)

QOF for next year, the headlines (1 min 19 secs)

Moving flu vaccs from QOF into the Investment and Impact Fund (IIF), what does mean in real terms for practices? (1 min 50 secs)

Discussing the thresholds (3 mins 21 secs)

Network versus practice targets (3 mins 53 secs)

IIF funding distribution (4 mins 37 secs)

Significant changes to vaccs and imms more widely (5 mins 9 secs)

The effect on patient choice (6 mins 53 secs)

Clarity on vaccine targets (network and practice) (8 mins 38 secs)

What happens if you don’t meet your QOF target/s? (8 mins 59 secs)

Getting a head start (11 mins 29 secs)

The importance of coding correctly (12 mins 2 secs)

What else is new? (12 mins 41 secs)

The difficulty of onward referral/s (13 mins 52 secs)

Management of serious mental illness (15 mins 20 secs)

Patients in remission (15 mins 59 secs)

Nicola and Robyn reflect on the changes (16 mins 45 secs)

Core standards related to vaccs and imms (18 mins 10 secs)

Claire’s advice, in summary (18 mins 51 secs)

Final thoughts (20 mins 3 secs)

Getting in touch (20 mins 21 secs)


The Practice Index website can be found here

For all enquiries, please contact James Dillon here

Here is the link to the Resilient Team Academy website which contains information on the current, discounted offer and how to apply.


Apr 18, 2021

Up and coming, The Physician Associate Podcast, is a brand-new resource for Physician Associates both newly qualified and established, to access a wealth of information, opinion and all the latest news relevant to the PA world. Host James Catton is this week joined by our very own Ben Gowland, who has taken time out from recording The General Practice podcast, to give new listeners a much-needed overview of and insight into general practice right now. How general practice works within the wider healthcare ecosystem, when and why Primary Care Networks were born, the financial model, partnerships and the New to Partnership Scheme, and most importantly, all the need to knows for a PA considering a career in general practice.


Introduction (59 secs)

Setting the scene (1 min 15 secs)

Where general practice sits within the wider NHS (2 mins 9 secs)

Recent changes and the birth of PCNs (3 mins 1 sec)

The Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (3 mins 58 secs)

Challenges facing PCNs (4 mins 50 secs)

James’ view of practice versus PCN placement (6 mins 26 secs)

The importance of knowing where you stand before applying for a role (6 mins 52 secs)

Getting the most out of having a PA and being a PA in a PCN (7 mins 34 secs)

What is GP partnership and the business model explained (10 mins 18 secs)

Financial challenges (11 mins 34 secs)

The New to Partnership Scheme (12 mins 26 secs)

Why have numbers of partnerships fallen in recent years? (13 mins 32 secs)

Out of hours services in general practice (15 mins 38 secs)

Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) explained (17 mins 58 secs)

Predicting the future (19 mins 6 secs)

Further information and getting in touch (23 mins 4 secs)


Apr 11, 2021

Staff across general practice are currently feeling the impact of the enormous increase in workload as a result of the pandemic and business as usual spectacularly colliding but what is life like at the top of a PCN right now? How are the Clinical Directors bearing the additional burden, managing the demands from their own workloads, and finding adequate time to support and grow new, integrated teams across their network? In this week’s podcast, we welcome back GP and executive coach Rachel Morris who offers her usual brand of practical, innovative, and accessible solutions for managing team stress and individual pressure. Rachel is joined by Dr Nicky Turner, Clinical Director for The Chalfont PCN in Buckinghamshire, who shares her experiences in the role and where her own support systems exist. Together, our panel explore where the challenges lie right now, what can be done to preserve and promote team and personal resilience – and finally how and why listeners to the podcast should access further support of their own and resources from Rachel’s Resilient Team Academy


Introductions (39 secs)

Nicky’s PCN demographic (55 secs)

What are the main challenges Nicky faces in her role right now? (1 min 16 secs)

Is the issue of workload the main factor or is it wider than that? (1 min 43 secs)

Working across practices within a PCN (2 mins 9 secs)

Managing people and change (3 mins 12 secs)

The impact of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) (4 mins 13 secs)

Rachel’s view on the pressure Clinical Directors are under (4 mins 42 secs)

What is helpful in terms of support? (5 mins 21 secs)

Nicky’s perspective on reducing stress and being more effective (6 mins 16 secs)

Actively seeking support (7 mins 1 sec)

The Drama Triangle (7 mins 43 secs)

Are softer skills really beneficial? (9 mins 36 secs)

Tailoring resilience training for different leaders (10 mins 19 secs)

Finding support in difference places (11 mins 41 secs)

The Resilient Team Academy (12 mins 5 secs)

Building a stronger team (13 mins 39 secs)

Planning for team engagement, post Covid (14 mins 30 secs)

Embedding ARRS staff (15 mins 29 secs)

Lessons learned from others’ experiences…what will get from joining The Resilient Team Academy? (17 mins 27 secs)

Constructive conflict (18 mins 53 secs)

The issues of virtual meetings and the impact on building great team relations (19 mins 48 secs)

Final words from Rachel (19 mins 59 secs)

Here is the link to the Resilient Team Academy website which contains information on the resources available, the current discounted offer– and how to join up.


Mar 22, 2021

As the new financial year and all its uncertainties looms, our joint Practice Index / Ockham Healthcare panel return to discuss their predictions and the preparations they have in place. Podcast regulars Robyn Clark and Nicola Davies are this week joined by RSM Partner and our resident finance expert James Gransby to talk all things QOF, enhanced services and the contractual requirements for 2021/22. Where are the pressure points? Can we continue to manage business as usual alongside the Covid vaccination drive? Will our core service once again expand to include the vaccinations year on year? How do we juggle this and what can we expect to receive by way of funding? Are we simply going to break even or can primary care profit from the increased workload? Life after Covid potentially starts here…


Introductions (33 secs)

How does life in general practice right now compare to that of a ‘normal’ March? (49 secs)

Planning for QOF next year (1 min 47 secs)

Is it possible for networks to manage business as usual alongside the enhanced service? (2 mins 59 secs)

What networks should be considering when it comes to finance in the new year (4 mins 44 secs)

Covid vaccinations to become core practice? (6 mins 8 secs)

The implications of a year-round vaccine drive (7 mins 42 secs)

Budget 2021 in summary and what it means for primary care (8 mins 38 secs)

Contract considerations, outside of QOF (10 mins 48 secs)

Implementing the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme in practice (11 mins 55 secs)

Mitigating the risk of high staff turnover (14 mins 43 secs)

Are PCN structures fit for future? (16 mins 35 secs)

Utilising the £1.50 (17 mins 33 secs)

An alternative way of thinking (18 mins 40 secs)

Embedding mental health workers (19 mins 39 secs)

James’s final thoughts (20 mins 53 secs)


The Practice Index website can be found here

For all enquiries, please contact James Dillon here

Mar 15, 2021

We are all aware of the pressure on general practice which has ramped up considerably since the vaccine drive began back in December but with no let up in sight and in fact, with pressure increasing across primary care going forwards, how do we maintain our current resilience and productivity levels whilst succumbing to the stress and even worse, the very real threat of burn out? Luckily GP and Executive Coach turned trainer Dr Rachel Morris is our featured guest this week and offers her thoughts, and some really practical advice, to ensure the burden of responsibility can be shared and managed more constructively, to preserve and promote the wellbeing of a team (and its individuals) during what many are finding to be the most stressful period of their working lives to date.


Introduction (29 secs)

Where are we at right now? (1 min 5 secs)

How do we maintain current momentum? (2 mins 19 secs)

Why you should be taking time off despite increasing pressure (4 mins 18 secs)

Taking a leap of faith (5 mins 54 secs)

Assuming the role of the rescuer (6 mins 46 secs)

Managing tensions and moving forwards (7 mins 45 secs)

Communication is key (9 mins 33 secs)

Building trust (10 mins 8 secs)

Where some PCNs have become disjointed (10 mins 54 secs)

Network challenges (11 mins 39 secs)

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni (12 mins 17 secs)

The importance of constructive conflict (12 mins 50 secs)

The transition of good working relationships to business as usual (15 mins 21 secs)

Mining for conflict to enable teams to function well (16 mins 22 secs)

The impact of the virtual environment (17 mins 39 secs)

Finding out more (19 mins 9 secs)

The Resilient Team Academy (20 mins 24 secs)


A list of the resources Rachel has mentioned:

Mar 8, 2021

The evolution of technology in general practice has been accelerated over the last 12 months but how ready were we, and are we, for further digital transformation? What are the factors that influence our willingness to embrace new ways of working and what are the barriers to progression? This was the focus of GP and Digital Fellow Dr Matt Hammerton’s recent report on digital readiness within his local integrated health partnership, a report conducted in conjunction with Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), with the support of WAHSN’s Associate Director Rachel Dominey. This week’s podcast offers a fascinating overview of the report’s findings and outcomes and includes practical advice and recommendations on readying practices and networks for the next stage of the digital journey.


Introductions (45 secs)

The reasons for undertaking the study (57 secs)

The reality of the tech available versus what is being used (1 min 42 secs)

Defining digital readiness (2 mins 8 secs)

Which areas of general practice does the report cover? (3 mins 6 secs)

Rachel describes her role at the AHSN (3 mins 34 secs)

How did the study work in practice? (5 mins 3 secs)

Recording the acceleration of tech use during the pandemic (5 mins 45 secs)

The difference in results, pre and post Covid-19 (6 mins 48 secs)

Does digital readiness depend on the tech we are using? (7 mins 17 secs)

Is the ability to embrace new technology more important than how the tech itself works? (8 mins 33 secs)

The AccuRx effect (9 mins 17 secs)

Does a more bespoke technology increase our willingness to use it? (9 mins 57 secs)

Other key factors impacting digital readiness (12 mins 53 secs)

Some recommendations (14 mins 6 secs)

The non-clinical profile (16 mins)

Patient age impact and influence (16 mins 38 secs)

The risk of practices and networks falling behind (17 mins 28 secs)

Further outcomes, recommendations, and advice (18 mins 33 secs)

Taking forward the recommendations from the AHSN’s perspective (19 mins 58 secs)


The link to the digital readiness report is here

Mar 1, 2021

Telehealth is a tool which can be used in a variety of ways; to support and enhance existing systems or to introduce a completely new way of working. Whilst telehealth is a relatively new concept in many areas, in others it is a more long-term feature of the health ecosystem.  In West Yorkshire, Immedicare offer a 24/7 digital care service to support primary care providers with the management of care home patients. Having been established for over 10 years, they know only too well what works, what does not and crucially how to realise the benefits of telehealth; enabling rapid triage and response around the clock, reducing secondary care admissions and relieving pressure on care home staff, local practices and PCNs. Rachel Binks, Nurse Practitioner for Digital and Acute Care at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, joins Ben this week to fill us in on the Immedicare journey and why they have been instrumental in improving health outcomes for their care home patients.


Introduction (34 secs)

How did the concept first come about? (46 secs)

The Immedicare journey (1 min 26 secs)

Enabling a 24/7 service (2 mins 11 secs)

800 care homes and counting (3 mins 43 secs)

How does the service work in practice? (4 mins 32 secs)

What is the contractual basis of the service and where does it fit with local providers? (5 mins 12 secs)

Managing a broad spectrum of conditions and health concerns (7 mins 13 secs)

The importance of building and maintaining relationships (7 mins 56 secs)

The Immedicare clinical workforce (9 mins 27 secs)

Making the service viable (10 mins 15 secs)

Balancing relationships with local PCNs and practices (11 mins 16 secs)

Multi-disciplinary team meetings (12 mins 59 secs)

What has been the impact of the service? (13 mins 36 secs)

Technical limitations? (14 mins 16 secs)

Reducing community care visits and admissions (14 mins 50 secs)

Aligning with new PCN services and staff teams (15 mins 51 secs)

Feedback from the care homes (16 mins 42 secs)

Financial and contractual setup (17 mins 14 secs)

What’s next as far as developing the service is concerned? (18 mins 23 secs)

Finding out more (19 mins 17 secs)


Immedicare website is here

Rachel is happy to discuss any aspect of the service on offer from Immedicare or telehealth more broadly. Her email address is here

Feb 22, 2021

It is undeniable that the success of the Covid vaccination programme so far is due to the efficiency and the herculean efforts of general practice staff across the board; from volunteers, to drivers, Practice Managers, doctors, nursing, and administration teams who all continue to go the extra mile to try to get the country back on its feet. On our dedicated monthly Practice Index / Ockham podcast, we have closely followed the progress of our Practice Managers (and their teams) from the beginning in December and January - and this week we revisit their journeys at a pivotal point as they smash their initial target of vaccinating the most vulnerable patient groups with their first doses. On this month’s panel, podcast regular Nicola Davies is joined by her colleagues Kay Keane of Alvanley Family Practice (and network manager for Werneth PCN) and Andrew Athale, Practice Manager for Eastmoor and Alverthorpe GP practices, to discuss their largely positive experiences so far but also the additional pressure they and their wider colleagues are feeling, their views on ensuring full and accurate financial reimbursement across their networks and what comes next as far as core general practice demand and delivery of second doses are concerned.


Introductions (34 secs)

Progress on the vaccination programme in each area; starting with Nicola’s (1 min 30 secs)

Kay tells us about her experiences in Stockport so far (2 mins 26 secs)

Kay’s role in the process (3 mins 1 secs)

Patient inspiration (3 mins 29 secs)

How has it gone so far in Andrew’s network? (4 mins 5 secs)

Meeting the challenge of vaccinating care home residents and house bound patients (5 mins 3 secs)

Processing payment (7 mins 51 secs)

The problem with Pinnacle (9 mins 20 secs)

Ensuring accurate and timely distribution of funds (10 mins 5 secs)

The pressure of working at scale when it comes to financial reimbursement (10 mins 58 secs)

Wider network impacts (12 mins 22 secs)

Could this be the making of PCNs? (13 mins 13 secs)

How has the set up of the mass vaccination sites affected local practices? (14 mins 14 secs)

Are PCNs really in competition with the mass vaccinations sites? (15 mins 55 secs)

Delivery of vaccines at a more local level (17 mins 30 secs)

Preparations for second doses (18 mins 56 secs)

Why delivery notifications need to be right (19 mins 30 secs)

Managing core general practice demand alongside the vaccine drive (20 mins 2 secs)

Pressure on Practice Managers (20 mins 49 secs)

Ben’s closing remarks (22 mins 25 secs)


The Practice Index website can be found here

For all enquiries, please contact James Dillon here

Feb 15, 2021

With demand on general practice already at an all-time high, many practices and networks require a smarter solution to manage staffing and rotas, to ensure the pressure of core primary care work, alongside the mass vaccination drive, can be effectively delivered. Dr Ishani Patel, GP and co-founder of the digital staff bank solution Lantum is back on the podcast and joined by colleague, Lantum account manager, Tom Herbert-Maynard, to update us on the progress that Lantum has made, how their solution is supporting ICSs up and down the country to create a fully flexible workforce across the NHS eco-system, their influence on staffing the vaccination sites and most importantly, to provide information on the NHSEI funding available now for ICSs to enable procurement of and access to a digital staff bank.


Introductions (38 secs)

Who are Lantum and what role are they playing in supporting the vaccination rollout? (51 secs)

How does a digital staff bank work where the vaccination programme is concerned? (1 min 39 secs)

Lessons learned from the programme so far (3 mins 28 secs)

What advantages does a digital system offer versus traditional methods of rota management? (5 mins 38 secs)

How would a rota manager organise staffing using an online portal, in practice? (6 mins 8 secs)

Governance considerations (8 mins 14 secs)

Maintaining a good rate of vaccinations and how the system could support this (8 mins 26 secs)

The key differences between smaller vaccination hubs and larger scale vaccination sites (9 mins 28 secs)

NHSEI funding availability (11 mins 5 secs)

Putting a flexible staffing pool in place across an ICS (12 mins 46 secs)

Which roles can be managed within a digital staff bank? (14 mins 34 secs)

Enabling delivery of truly integrated care (15 mins 22 secs)

Breaking down organisational boundaries (16 mins 29 secs)

How do I access the NHSEI funding offer? (17 mins 29 secs)

I am a Clinical Director, and I would like to find out more (18 mins 29 secs)

Getting in touch (19 mins 20 secs)


The Lantum website is here

Ishani is contactable here

This page explains a little more about how Lantum can provide 'connected scheduling' between staff banks.

What should be the key considerations when sourcing a digital staff bank provider? Lantum’s blog post is here

Feb 8, 2021

With the right training and support in place, Physician Associates can play an important part in relieving a proportion of the clinical burden on GPs and their wider staff. As the role is now included in those available through the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme, we persuaded Ria Agarwal, herself an experienced Physician Associate (PA), to make a return to the podcast, to share her experiences and her tips for getting the best out of a newly recruited PA. Why she believes they can really make a difference to practice productivity, what PA preceptorships (such as the scheme currently on offer in Sheffield) can bring in the way of support and how to get the best out of your newest recruit.


Introduction (34 secs)


Four years in the life of a Physician Associate (PA) (48 secs)


Is the PA role now more widely accepted in general practice? (2 mins 5 secs)


The inclusion of PAs in the additional roles’ reimbursement scheme (2 mins 39 secs)


Preceptorship schemes (2 mins 58 secs)


What is involved in a preceptorship typically? (3 mins 46 secs)


Structuring PA consulting appointments in the first year (6 mins 24 secs)


Progression and training (7 mins 16 secs)


The influence of a practice in enhancing the potential of a PA (8 mins 26 secs)


Is there a benefit to newly qualified PAs having access to and mentorship from a more experienced PA? (11 mins 3 secs)


Tackling recruitment (12 mins 31 secs)


Expectation versus reality (15 mins 11 secs)


Why where you base your PA matters (16 mins 24 secs)


Preceptorship funding (17 mins 22 secs)


The key to success (18 mins 30 secs)


Final thoughts and advice (19 mins 44 secs)



A link to Ria’s paper on the preceptorship scheme available in Sheffield is here


Feb 1, 2021

When primary care networks were first launched, many believed this might spell the end for GP federations, but this is not necessarily the case. There are numerous examples of some innovative partnership models developing across the country to support PCNs in delivering the best quality care and whereby federations are providing the resources to absorb some of the key workstreams, thus removing the burden from practice and network staff. Alliance for Better Care, or ABC as they are commonly known, are a typical example of a GP federation who are achieving success by working collaboratively with their PCNs. This is due, in part, to the expertise of their two Network Development Managers, Caroline Upton and Lena Abdu, who join Ben on the podcast to give an insight into their roles, what they entail, where they have made a difference and why partnership working might be the way forward.



Introductions (38 secs)


ABC demographic and mission (57 secs)


Lena’s background (1 min 39 secs)


Caroline’s journey to becoming a Network Development Manager (2 mins 42 secs)


Sharing the management of networks from a federation perspective (3 mins 14 secs)


Ownership of dedicated work packages (4 mins 2 secs)


The importance of maintaining strong relationships with individual clinical directors (4 mins 48 secs)


Communication and engagement with wider teams (5 mins 34 secs)


Other available support for PCNs (6 mins 42 secs)


All about recruitment (7 mins 53 secs)


The additional roles scheme (10 mins 23 secs)


Managing workload and demand capacity (12 mins 4 secs)


Meeting the new general practice service specifications (13 mins 13 secs)


Meeting representation (15 mins 38 secs)


What are the main challenges? (17 mins 31 secs)


How are the Network Development Manager roles costed? (19 mins 43 secs)


Finding out more and getting in touch (21 mins 32 secs)



Alliance for Better Care’s website can be found here



Email: and / or

Jan 25, 2021

It has been arguably some of the toughest few weeks general practice has ever known. The pressure of the delivery of the vaccination programme has been felt by teams up and down the country and our joint Ockham / Practice Index podcast regulars are no different. In this sixth instalment of our hugely popular practice manager panel posts, Nicola Davies, Robyn Clark and Ben are joined by Business Manager Amita Gokani to discuss their experiences of working at the forefront of the vaccination programme, so far. Each have faced their own challenges locally and are at different stages in the immunisation campaign and we have been fortunate to get their insights on how the first six weeks have gone for each of them; the highs, the lows and then what comes next.


Introductions (35 secs)


Robyn in the headlines (1 min)


The Institute of General Practice Management (IGPM) update (2 mins 47 secs)


The last 6 weeks in Nicola’s patch (3 mins 1 sec)


Dealing with local frustrations (3 mins 57 secs)


Amita’s recent experiences in Redbridge (5 mins 9 secs)


The impact of short notice, unannounced and cancelled deliveries (6 mins 49 secs)


Working through the cohorts versus potential for wastage (7 mins 30 secs)


Progress in Robyn’s area (8 mins 15 secs)


The potential for increased flexibility and where this has been limited (9 mins 3 secs)


What happened when the guidelines for administering the second dosage changed? (10 mins 57 secs)


The challenges presented by continually changing guidance and regulation (11 mins 42 secs)


Nicola’s view on these continuous changes (12 mins)


Managing staffing and rotas (14 mins 19 secs)


The limitations of running services on staffing good will (15 mins 45 secs)


The approach to care homes and housebound patients in Robyn’s area (17 mins 15 secs)


Anticipating the weeks ahead: Robyn and Amita (18 mins 9 secs)


All systems go for Nicola (19 mins 31 secs)


The Practice Index website can be found here


For all enquiries, please contact James Dillon here

Jan 18, 2021

Recruiting from the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) pot isn’t simply a case of picking out which services and posts you think would best suit your network or practice. As many are discovering, it requires a bit of a step back and some critical thinking as to what might work now versus in the future, what the needs of the local population are, how much capacity there might be to support new, additional team members and how they can best function across large networks and / or multiple practices. In this week’s podcast, we welcome back Dr Riaz Jetha, GP and Director of Health Integration Partners, whose team have adopted a novel approach to managing the process of applying for, funding and integrating new clinical posts into existing teams. Can there really be a magic formula which supports us in identifying the right roles, which can ensure we better meet the needs of the PCN and stay within the funding budget?



Introduction (40 secs)


How did the adoption of the process mapping methodology come about? (1 min)


How would we use a role instead of what role should we get (an alternative mindset) (3 mins 3 secs)


Where to begin (4 mins 26 secs)

Some surprising outcomes (7 mins 47 secs)


The value of the non-clinical functions (9 mins 33 secs)


Summing up a phased approach to the ARRS process (12 mins 28 secs)


Blending clinical and leadership skills (13 mins 30 secs)


Plugging the gaps in developmental and holistic support for newly recruited ARRS staff (13 mins 52 secs)


Alleviating the burden on PCNs and practices (15 mins 11 secs)


Riaz’s view on ARRS funding models (15 mins 51 secs)


Applying the funding more flexibly (17 mins 43 secs)


Being more creative when it comes to recruitment (18 mins 44 secs)


Key lessons learned (19 mins 45 secs)


Measuring the benefits of process mapping (20 mins 38 secs)


Getting in touch (21 mins 37 secs)




The link to the Health Integration Partners website can be found here


Contact email for Riaz here


A sample presentation showing the analysis of staffing a new service can be found here

Jan 11, 2021

With the recent inclusion of pharmacists within the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme offer, many practices and networks are seriously considering utilising the skills and services a pharmacist can bring to their table. However, many are equally uncertain as to what the pharmacists can cover, how to integrate them best within their teams and more practically, what the best model of employment might be to benefit both the new post holder and the PCN, amongst other things. Luckily, Mahmud Yusupov and Runa Salim, both Senior Clinical Pharmacists and joint founders of the innovative Clinical Pharmacist Solutions join Ben this week to talk us through all of the key practical aspects that PCNs must consider during the recruitment process and beyond – and from a third-party perspective, how they can support primary care in getting the best out of the new roles.



Introductions (36 secs)


Mahmud’s background and an introduction to Clinical Pharmacist Solutions’ mission (55 secs)


All about Runa (1 min 26 secs)


Attracting pharmacists to primary care and ensuring they can practice effectively (1 min 57 secs)


What are pharmacists looking for specifically when it comes to a career in general practice? (3 mins 23 secs)


The importance of the interview (5 mins 19 secs)


What support can Clinical Pharmacist Solutions for PCNs during the recruitment process? (6 mins 12 secs)


Matching the requirements of a practice to the skillset of a pharmacist (7 mins 44 secs)


Assessments of skills / training needs analysis (8 mins 14 secs)


How long does it take to upskill a pharmacist? (10 mins 15 secs)


Blending externally provided learning with CPPE training (11 mins 49 secs)


Reducing staff turnover (13 mins 1 sec)


Mahmud and Runa’s thoughts on potential employment models (14 mins 23 secs)


Funding challenges (16 mins 9 secs)


Getting in touch (18 mins 5 secs)



The link to the Clinical Pharmacist Solutions website can be found here


Their LinkedIn page is here

Jan 6, 2021

At the end of last year Ben recorded a review of 2020 with Dr Hussain Gandhi and Dr Andrew Foster from the eGPlearning podblast.  We cover the impact of Covid on general practice, how that changed over the course of the year, and reflect on what the lasting implications of this might be for the service.  It is a slightly longer listen than our normal podcast episodes at 45 minutes – primarily because there is so much to cover! 

Jan 4, 2021

There are generally more failures than success stories when it comes to launching and maintaining community based urgent care services across the country so what have the team in Rochdale done differently? To kick off the new year, Ben is joined by GP Dr Zalan Alam, Clinical Director for the hugely successful and pioneering Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Urgent Community Care Team who gives an inspiring insight into their five-year journey to date; from establishing a business case, to taking a more flexible approach to their service specification, where they have grown and continually adapted, the lessons learned and their future aspirations.


Introduction (34 secs)


Zalan’s role and an overview of the service model (51 secs)


Establishment of the service and some key factors in its success to date (1 min 56 secs)


The business case (3 mins 7 secs)


A typical patient journey (4 mins 58 secs)


Capacity challenges? (6 mins 29 secs)


Impact of Covid (7 mins 11 secs)


Integrating social prescribers (8 mins 50 secs)


The five-year evolution of the service (9 mins 50 secs)


Lessons learned (11 mins 30 secs)


Zalan’s thoughts on integrated care (13 mins 4 secs)


Cultivating a shared vision (14 mins 57 secs)


An alternative approach to the service specification (15 mins 33 secs)


What’s next? (16 mins 36 secs)


Finding out more (18 mins 14 secs)



Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale’s Intermediate Care Team website


Contact points for the service as follows:


Dr Zalan Alam Clinical Director for Intermediate Tier Services 


Wendy Antil Service Manager 


Ruth Chamberlain Directorate Manager


The link to Zalan’s first podcast episode is here