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.
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Oct 17, 2021

With almost twelve months experience of delivering a first contact physiotherapy (FCP) service across three PCNs in South Tyneside, Connect Health can attest to their worth. In fact, the service has been so well received that the PCN are on a mission to double the numbers of physios across their area, going forwards. In this week’s episode we meet South Tyneside Clinical Director, Federation lead and GP Dr Anji Curry and Connect Health’s MSK Clinical Service Manager and Physiotherapy Advanced Practitioner Hal Brace, who talk to Ben about their journey so far; what first contact practitioners can bring to a PCN in terms of easing the workload burden and early intervention, the different models for recruitment, the importance of care navigation in supporting and complementing the FCP service, and why every team should consider inclusion of these vital roles within the context of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) funding available.


Introducing Anji (22 secs)


All about Hal (40 secs)


The South Tyneside PCN area (54 secs)


Adopting an innovative approach to the ARRS funding (1 min 20 secs)


PCN demographic (2 mins 30 secs)


A background to the FCP service and how the service has grown over time (2 mins 44 secs)


Partnering with Connect Health and the recruitment process for the FCPs (4 mins 58 secs)


How does the FCP service work in practice? (6 mins 5 secs)


The FCP spread across the PCN areas (8 mins 15 secs)


What have been the biggest challenges so far? (10 mins 38 secs)


Managing waiting times and clinic schedules (13 mins 12 secs)


Winning over more reluctant colleagues (14 mins 6 secs)


The relationship between the PCNs and Connect Health (15 mins 32 secs)


Why data measures and audits are key (17 mins 10 secs)


Planning for the future (18 mins 1 sec)


Advice and top tips from Hal and from Anji (19 mins 3 secs)



If you would like further information and / or would like to get in touch with the team at Connect Health, please visit their website here

Oct 10, 2021

Picking back up on our series of podcasts about making the best use of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme, this week Ben meets a multi-skilled, multidisciplinary team of professionals who are all working towards achieving better mental health outcomes for the students, staff and young people based in and around the University of Nottingham campus. The wellbeing team, led by GP DR Matt Litchfield, consists of Stuart Keeling, Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Amy Smith, Occupational Therapist and Emma Swearman, Health and Wellbeing Coach. Based at Cripps Health Centre, the four each give us an insight into their backgrounds and their current roles, what they can offer to better the lives of their patients, both individually and as a collective, the enormous growth of the service over a relatively short time span and the wider impact they are having at practice level and to the benefit of the local healthcare sector, more widely.


Introducing Matt, Stuart, Amy & Emma (9 secs)

The practice, PCN and local population (29 secs)

Where the wellbeing team began (1 min 16 secs)

Stuart’s background and the growth of the Mental Health Nurse Practitioner role within the wellbeing team (2 mins 17 secs)

Appointment structure (5 mins 31 secs)

Amy’s input as an Occupational Therapist (OT) and what OTs can bring to a mental health service (6 mins 39 secs)

The transition of OTs into primary care (8 mins 32 secs)

Emma as a Health and Wellbeing Coach (10 mins 6 secs)

How does Emma’s role work in practice? (11 mins 26 secs)

Community health and wellbeing groups (12 mins 18 secs)

Measuring success (13 mins)

Team management structure and supervision (15 mins 11 secs)

The impact of the team on the wider practice and patients (16 mins 25 secs)

Meeting patient needs (17 mins 59 secs)

The importance of early intervention and the benefit to the wider healthcare partners (18 mins 22 secs)

Employment of the mental health practitioner in partnership with local providers (19 mins 31 secs)

Planning for the future (20 mins 54 secs)

Getting in touch (22 mins 37 secs)


If you have any specific questions, or you’d like to learn more about the inspiring work of the University of Nottingham wellbeing team, please contact Matthew or Stuart.

Oct 3, 2021

The struggle for leaders across primary care has never been more real. The ability to influence others and enact change whilst the sector is under such tremendous pressure has never been more difficult. So, what can we do to move our teams both at practice level, and when it comes to navigating and negotiating new ways of working across a network of people who have only very recently been thrown together? How do we manage tricky relationships and partners who don’t want to engage? How do ensure we are still able to prioritise and practice self-care at the same time? Thankfully, Dr Rachel Morris, GP and thought leader on resilience in the workplace, returns to the podcast to discuss all of the above (and more), and how both she and Ben can help those at the top to access further support, beyond this week’s episode.


National recognition (14 secs)

The ‘You Are Not A Frog’ podcast (31 secs)

Making friends and influencing people (48 secs)

The challenges of network working (2 mins 4 secs)

Starting with the problem, instead of the change (3 mins 9 secs)

The way you market your solutions matters (4 mins 24 secs)

Supporting GP leaders to improve collaborative working (5 mins 27 secs)

Recognising and addressing other people’s concerns (6 mins 49 secs)

The power of a network vision (8 mins 35 secs)

Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme: Reducing short-term pain to realise the long-term gain (10 mins 39 secs)

Linking specific goals to overall vision (12 mins 20 secs)

Starting with the “why?” (14 mins)

Executing new ideas (15 mins 12 secs)

Being realistic (16 mins 39 secs)

The importance of debate and being able to conflict well (17 mins 57 secs)

The Resilient Team Academy (19 mins 11 secs)

How can leaders support their teams without burning out? Training opportunity! (20 mins 4 secs)


For more information about the free online training session this coming Monday 11th October at 7.30pm ‘How to support your team through the new ways of working in primary care without burning out yourself’, please click here. The webinar will cover key topics such as how to support others more effectively, tackling the moaners and complainers; and how to empower your team and get them unstuck.

The links to all the reading material Rachel has referenced in this week’s episode are listed below:

'Influence Without Authority’ by Allan R. Cohen and David L. Bradford

‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek

‘Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less’ by Greg McKeown

‘Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions’ by John Kotter

‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable’ by Patrick Lencioni


Sep 26, 2021

In the latest episode of our monthly Practice Index podcast series, regular panel members Practice Managers Robyn Clark and Nicola Davies are joined by Ilford-based GP Principal and Partner Dr Naj Seedat. The trio, alongside our very own Ben Gowland, discuss the increasingly negative PR campaign which general practice has fallen victim to within the press, social media outlets and amongst frustrated patient communities. Can the tide be turned and if so, how? Do extraordinary measures need to be put in place to protect practice staff from the very real threats of harm and in some cases, almost daily incidences of verbal abuse? Can we really find a way to tackle the surge in demand for face-to-face appointments whilst Covid is of continuing concern, and whilst we are dealing with the biggest staffing crisis we may have ever known? With winter approaching, the future certainly looks bleak in primary care, but the panel have their own ideas about how we might be able to face down the criticism, win hearts and minds and most importantly, ensure we are looking after ourselves in the process.

Introductions (30 secs)

All about Naj (50 secs)

How is life on the general practice front line right now? (1 min 16 secs)

Robyn’s perspective (2 mins 19 secs)

Naj’s experiences of the current situation (3 mins 42 secs)

The access conundrum (4 mins 13 secs)

Meeting the demand for face-to-face consultations in the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic (5 mins 57 secs)

The workforce crisis (7 mins 25 secs)

Celebrating success (8 mins 43 secs)

Discussing the lack of support centrally – and from the top (10 mins 31 secs)

Media, public opinion, and the voices of negativity (11 mins 45 secs)

Safeguarding general practice staff from the threat of abuse (13 mins 17 secs)

Enforcing a zero-tolerance policy (16 mins 11 secs)

What can be done to turn the tide? (17 mins 35 secs)

Institute of General Practice Management (IGPM) stance (19 mins 30 secs)


Practice Index’s website can be found here

For more information and to sign up to become a member of the IGPM, please find the website here

For all enquiries, please contact James Dillon here or Ben Gowland here


Sep 19, 2021

Dr Dustyn Saint is a GP with a special interest in informatics, data analytics and in making life a little easier for those working under tremendous pressure in primary care. Following the fallout from the worldwide pandemic, he and his team at Primary Care IT, the organisation Dustyn and his colleague founded to share, evolve, and grow the tools and resources already embedded within their own, respective practices, jumped into action, to see what they could refine and improve – and what might be needed to support primary care staff before, during and beyond the Covid outbreak. Amongst the multitude of Covid templates and tools, the introduction of a Covid ‘hub’ space and the development of some high spec remote consultation tech, they have also introduced a data analytics tool, to assist general practice leaders in not only staying on top of their financial targets and income streams, but enabling more proactive and strategic decision-making, as a result of presenting a more detailed insight into their income patterns, and those of others. Here, Dustyn touches on the Primary Care IT journey since Covid hit, and why he believes the OneAnalytics tool can really make a difference.


Introduction (19 secs)

Primary Care IT (26 secs)

Dustyn’s journey (the link to his first Ockham podcast episode) (1 min 8 secs)

The impact of Covid on the primary care digital agenda (1 min 19 secs)

Covid templates and tools on offer (1 min 51 secs)

The Covid Hub (2 mins 25 secs)

Remote consultations and long-term condition reviews (3 mins 33 secs)

The practice income data analytics tool (4 mins 41 secs)

Where does the income data originate from, and can we access this too? (6 mins 30 secs)

How up to date is this data? (7 mins 5 secs)

A how-to of using the tool (7 mins 48 secs)

Initial conclusions and findings (8 mins 36 secs)

Preparing for integrated care (11 mins)

Early indicators and planning ahead (12 mins 9 secs)

Feedback from those on the ground (13 mins 4 secs)

Which users should have access to the tool? (14 mins 2 secs)

What’s the impact of the tool on overall financial management? (15 mins 8 secs)

Webinar guidance (17 mins 50 secs)

What’s next? (18 mins 10 secs)

Getting in touch (18 mins 37 secs)


More information can be found on the Primary Care IT website

If you’d like to get in touch with Dustyn and his team at Primary Care IT, all the available contact points can be found here

Sep 12, 2021

GP Dr Neil Modha returns to the Ockham sofa this week to discuss the topic of health inequalities, something which is particularly close to his heart on account of the vulnerable communities which make up the majority of his Thistlemoor practice in Peterborough’s patient population. From QOF measures to Covid vaccination numbers, Neil explains why the current funding model and the systems in place are not always supportive of those working their hardest to meet the needs of those most in need but also, with the introduction of integrated care systems and some close liaison with NHS England, why there is reason to be optimistic going forwards.


Introduction (36 secs)


The population served by Neil’s practice (50 secs)


How the Thistlemoor team are meeting the needs of vulnerable patient groups (1 min 24 secs)


Covid vaccinations and why measured targets are not always representative of efforts on the ground (2 mins 23 secs)


Weighted populations (5 mins 5 secs)


The Carr-Hill formula and how it works in practice (6 mins 1 sec)


Other GP contract pressures (7 mins 2 secs)


Challenges of QOF and ‘absolute’ target setting (8 mins 49 secs)


Increasing the inequality gap (9 mins 40 secs)


The digital impact (11 mins 25 secs)


Barriers to tech (12 mins 42 secs)


What is the best way forward? (14 mins 5 secs)

Can change happen with the introduction of integrated care systems? (16 mins 44 secs)


The appetite for change within the centralised bodies (18 mins 41 secs)


Optimism for the future (20 mins 25 secs)

Funding analysis– can you help?! (21 mins 19 secs)


The episode Ben refers to, where Neil introduces us to Thistlemoor’s innovative open access model, can be found here

If you can assist with some funding analysis, Ben can put you in touch with Neil

Sep 5, 2021

For too long general practice nursing has been in crisis with high rates of staff turnover, a lack of opportunity to progress - or to seek training and development to progress, coupled with nursing confidence in the system at an all time low and stress levels at an all-time high. As a result, the ten-point action plan for general practice nursing was implemented with the aim of developing confidence, capability, and capacity across primary care nursing. As Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership’s training hub lead, Mel Lamb has been instrumental in embedding the ten-point plan principles in her area; supporting, and promoting the work of her fellow nurses, and providing encouragement to develop their skills further and ultimately, to progress with confidence.  In this week’s episode, she talks Ben through her role, the legacy she hopes that the ten-point plan can leave for both newly qualified nurses and those already in post and most importantly, if the work Mel and her colleagues are doing can  enable a brighter future for general practice nursing, going forwards.


Introduction (37 secs)

Mel’s role as a training hub lead (56 secs)

Implementation of the 10-point action plan for general practice nursing (1 min 48 secs)

Mel’s first impressions (2 mins 31 secs)

Is there a crisis in general practice nursing and can this be overcome? (4 mins 5 secs)

Training and development opportunities on offer to nurses right now (5 mins 11 secs)

Impact on morale and improving recruitment and retention (7 mins 54 secs)

Establishing a support network (9 mins 4 secs)

The ‘threat’ of the additional roles (11 mins 2 secs)

Are nurses’ skills and experiences appropriately utilised when planning for the new roles? (12 mins 48 secs)

Training hubs and what they can offer (13 mins 52 secs)

Accessing and locating local training hubs (15 mins 7 secs)

Breaking down the barriers to nurse leadership opportunities (15 mins 45 secs)

Is the 10-point plan working? (17 mins 46 secs)

Getting in touch (18 mins 52 secs)


If you’re interested in learning more about the 10-point action plan, further information can be found here

Mid and South Essex Training Hub’s Twitter contact

To get in touch via email

Aug 29, 2021

Episode 271 - Podcast – Taurus Healthcare – Inspiring great leadership in the dawn of Integrated Care Systems

The healthcare landscape is once again changing, and it is expanding rapidly. The age of integrated care systems (ICSs) is almost upon us and with it heralds a new set of challenges for general practice, particularly when it comes to establishing and maintaining effective leadership and enabling sound and unified decision making (which truly represents all local parties). This week, we introduce Dr Mike Hearne and Nisha Sankey, Managing Director and Director of Strategy and PCNs respectively, from the GP federation Taurus Healthcare based in Herefordshire. Both Mike and Nisha have been instrumental in setting up and running the Herefordshire General Practice Leadership Team; a single, decision-making body incorporating Herefordshire’s PCNs, federation, LMCs and CCG teams. Our podcast this week explores their journey; their infrastructure and resources, the decision-making processes in place, the obstacles and challenges they have faced along the way and how and why a single, unified leadership team will be instrumental in the new, integrated world.


Introductions (45 secs)

Taurus Healthcare background and achievements to date (52 secs)

Nisha’s role (2 mins 7 secs)

Relationships between PCNs and federation (2 mins 52 secs)

Taurus infrastructure (3 mins 55 secs)

The General Practice Leadership Team (4 mins 58 secs)

Establishing a recognised decision-making forum (6 mins 56 secs)

Managing pushback and obstacles (7 mins 41 secs)

Non-clinical chairmanship (9 mins 10 secs)

Nisha’s view on impartiality (10 mins 14 secs)

Manging tensions when it comes to decision making (10 mins 47 secs)

Facing future challenges (12 mins 5 secs)

Preserving the views of the group within individual representation (12 mins 54 secs)

Maintaining proactivity in the new world (15 mins 23 secs)

Resourcing and representation within the ICS environment (17 mins 16 secs)

Financial considerations (19 mins 41 secs)

Funding channels (20 mins 24 secs)

Getting in touch / finding out more (21 mins 40 secs)


The team at Taurus Healthcare are more than happy to talk and to share their experiences with others. All their main contact points are shown below:




Taurus Healthcare website 

LAST CALL FOR REMAINING PLACES! Information about the New to General Practice Partnership Training Programme, for those new to partnership or considering going into partnership, can be found here.

Aug 22, 2021

The introduction of new roles is not new to general practice, particularly right now, but with the relatively short timeframe that practices have had to adjust to the changes and the challenges following the introduction of the PCNs, it is not surprising that those working in the PCN Manager roles can find it difficult to integrate and engage with local staff. For Practice Managers who have long been used to the autonomy of leading their individual areas and juggling competing demands, the arrival of another manager and entrusting that they can prioritise their practice’s needs can be of concern. In our latest Practice Index / Ockham podcast series, we explore this theme with our resident Practice Management leads, Nicola Davies, and Robyn Clark, and with two experienced PCN Managers, Julie Damon and Tara Humphrey who share their experiences to date. The panel are all in agreement that the Practice Manager / PCN Manager relationship can and should work in harmony, but how can this happen and what can those who are struggling on both sides right now do to improve confidence and maximise the ability to deliver?


Introductions (39 secs)

Julie says hello (1 min 2 secs)

Reintroducing Tara (1 min 31 secs)

Robyn’s relationship with her PCN Manager (2 mins 9 secs)

Nicola’s network (2 mins 43 secs)

Julie’s experiences of working alongside the Practice Managers in her area (3 mins 23 secs)

Building trust with existing practice staff (4 mins 8 secs)

Why keeping in touch is so important (5 mins 13 secs)

The challenges Tara has faced in the past (5 mins 44 secs)

What made things tough? (6 mins 46 secs)

Finding a way through (7 mins 43 secs)

What does the role of the PCN Manager mean for Practice Managers? (8 mins 43 secs)

Nicola’s view (9 mins 34 secs)

Confidence and communication (10 mins 42 secs)

Learning to let go (11 mins 44 secs)

PCN v Practice (12 mins 49 secs)

The challenges of meeting workload demand (15 mins 4 secs)

Advice from Robyn and Nicola for PCN Managers who may be struggling to engage with practice staff (16 mins 55 secs)

Julie and Tara share their wisdom (19 ins 18 secs)

Recommended resources (21 mins 6 secs)

Support from the Institute of General Practice Management (22 mins 18 secs)


Practice Index’s website can be found here

For more information and to sign up to become a member of the IGPM, please find the website here

THC Primary Care’s website can be found here

For all enquiries, please contact James Dillon here or Ben Gowland here

Aug 15, 2021

This week’s episode of our additional roles focused series of podcasts features Alliance for Better Care’s multi-talented Chantelle Martin, an Occupational Therapist by background, who made the jump into social prescribing – and back again! Chantelle’s talks to Ben about her experiences of both worlds, her personal journey within general practice, and why she is now a passionate advocate and supporter of a hybrid approach to embedding the additional roles. So much so, that she has is pioneering and leading a joint social prescribing and occupational therapy service in her local area to enhance and complement what is already on offer to practices and patients.

Introduction (46 secs)

All about Chantelle (59 secs)

Jumping from occupational therapy into social prescribing (1 min 47 secs)

Haywards Heath PCN (2 mins 55 secs)

Starting out as the PCN’s first social prescribing link worker (3 mins 31 secs)

Network versus practice (4 mins 11 secs)

The social prescribing role (4 mins 29 secs)

Referral criteria and pathways (5 mins 45 secs)

Moving back to occupational therapy and the birth of a joint service (6 mins 25 secs)

How can social prescribing link workers and OTs work in partnership? (7 mins 36 secs)

Support, supervision, and caseload management (9 mins 4 secs)

A sense of belonging and influence (10 mins 10 secs)

Chantelle’s support network (12 mins 25 secs)

The occupational therapy service (13 mins 8 secs)

Expanding the social prescribing team (14 mins 21 secs)

Are the additional roles attractive enough for potential applicants? (15 mins 15 secs)

Meeting social prescribing referral targets (16 mins 13 secs)

Lessons learned (17 mins 46 secs)

Working as holistic teams, rather than as separate services (19 mins 12 secs)

Recommended resources (20 mins 17 secs)


There are still a couple of places up for grabs on each of the courses Ben is jointly running in September:

For clinical directors looking for some ongoing, structured support, the PCN Clinical Director Mastermind Programme is still open for applications. Click here if you’d like to find out more.

Information about the New to General Practice Partnership Training Programme, for those new to partnership or considering going into partnership, can be found here.

If you’d like to discuss any aspect of the courses which are currently on offer further, please contact Ben at

Aug 8, 2021

Our Additional Roles podcast series continues and this week we focus on Streatham PCN’s innovative approach to the introduction of Care Coordinators into their network. Streatham PCN Clinical Director Emma Rowley-Conwy joins Ben to give us an insight into their journey; from their initial considerations of how to use the funding once they knew it would be made available, the roles they decided to start with, why they felt the development and promotion of existing practice support staff was the way to go when establishing a care coordination team and crucially, the positive impact they are seeing on patients, practices and network staff across the board.


Introduction (44 secs)

Streatham PCN setup (55 secs)

Streatham’s initial approach to the additional roles scheme (1 min 10 secs)

Practice involvement in development of the Pharmacy roles (2 mins 18 secs)

Expansion from Pharmacists to Care Coordinators (3 mins 9 secs)

Early considerations of how best to use the Care Coordinators (4 mins 41 secs)

Numbers of Care Coordinators in post right now (5 mins 59 secs)

Development of the Care Coordinator roles across the network (6 mins 7 secs)

How are caseloads and referrals managed in practice? (9 mins 13 secs)

Tackling the problem of variation across practices (10 mins 29 secs)

Recruitment process (11 mins 35 secs)

Building the roles and the confidence of the team and establishing consistency (11 mins 50 secs)

Monitoring the impact (13 mins 3 secs)

How are the practices feeling the benefits? (13 mins 30 secs)

Taking the next step (14 mins 58 secs)

Where the additional roles may fit when the new PCN specs are published (16 mins 24 secs)

Lessons learned (16 mins 46 secs)

Support networks (17 mins 59 secs)


There are still a couple of places up for grabs on each of the courses Ben is jointly running in September:

For clinical directors looking for some ongoing, structured support, the PCN Clinical Director Mastermind Programme is still open for applications. Click here if you’d like to find out more.

Information about the New to General Practice Partnership Training Programme, for those new to partnership or considering going into partnership, can be found here.

If you’d like to discuss any aspect of the courses which are currently on offer further, please contact Ben at

Aug 1, 2021

When you are thinking of entering into general practice partnership, there is a very definite dearth of information and insider knowledge available to potential new partners. There are a number of really crucial factors to consider and some specific information you may require access to, in order to really understand what the expectations are of you and most importantly, whether the partnership is worthy of your investment and how likely you are to succeed in it. Fortunately, Robert McCartney, solicitor, and general practice business consultant, returns to the Ockham sofa this week to cut through the confusion and to give us some clear advice on navigating and negotiating what can be an incredibly tricky path. From property, people and finances to the business, the vision and the culture, this week’s episode gives a much-needed overview and insight into practice partnership for beginners.

Introduction (45 secs)

Primary considerations for those thinking of entering into GP partnership (1 min 14 secs)

Assessing leadership, management, and the level of team engagement within a network (1 min 56 secs)

How important are clearly defined roles within a partnership? (2 mins 51 secs)

The business and the vision (3 mins 44 secs)

Partnership commitment (5 mins 36 secs)

Guidance on governance (6 mins 25 secs)

Recognising red flags where finance is concerned (7 mins 29 secs)

Investment in general practice property (8 mins 59 secs)

What potential GP partners should be mindful of when it comes to property (10 mins 11 secs)

Other property related considerations (11 mins 38 secs)

People and HR (11 mins 59 secs)

Recognising good practices from not so good practices in the current climate (13 mins 13 secs)

Why Practice Management is key (15 mins 38 secs)

The journey to parity (16 mins 33 secs)

Where does the power lie right now? (19 mins 19 secs)

New to Partnership Payment Scheme; negotiating terms and what to expect (20 mins 23 secs)

How the New to General Practice Partnership course can help (21 mins 52 secs)

If this episode has whet your appetite and you’re keen to know more, information about the New to General Practice Partnership Training Programme (and how to sign up) can be found here

If you’d like to discuss any aspect of the course on offer further, please contact Ben at or Robert at

Jul 25, 2021

Podcast regulars and Practice Manager extraordinaires Robyn Clark and Nicola Davies return for the next instalment of our joint Practice Index / Ockham Healthcare podcast series. This week, the panel reflect on what the world of general practice might look like after the so-called ‘freedom day’ on 19th July. What will the initial changes be to their practices and practice locally (if any)? What are the longer-term impacts likely to be on staff, workload and on patients? What have we learned as a result of the pandemic that we can carry forward to the next, critical phase of working in primary care? And importantly, how can the IGPM support the practice management community with the demands of the upcoming winter months ahead?

Introductions (32 secs)

Robyn and Nicola’s initial thoughts about the change in Covid guidelines (38 secs)

Face mask policy approach (1 min 40 secs)

The call from the new Health Secretary to “embrace risk” (2 mins 17 secs)

Current level of demand in general practice (3 mins 43 secs)

Preparing for the winter months (5 mins 23 secs)

Looking ahead to the next phase of the enhanced service (6 mins 37 secs)

Is it possible for general practice to deliver the Covid vaccination boosters and meet the QOF targets? (9 mins 41 secs)

Does meeting the additional workload come at a cost to core general practice output? (11 mins 36 secs)

Enhanced service impact on flu vaccinations (13 mins 15 secs)

What are the barriers to network working? (15 mins 51 secs)

Are GP practices increasingly collaborative and less competitive as a result of the pandemic? (17 mins 5 secs)

IGPM update and how the IGPM will be supporting general practice through the next critical phase (17 mins 56 secs)


For more information and to sign up to become a member of the IGPM, please find the website here

Practice Index’s website can be found here

For all enquiries, please contact James Dillon here


Jul 18, 2021

Following on from our recent episode about the difference Health and Wellbeing Coaches can make in supporting patients with a non-medical approach (and continuing with our podcast series following the progression of those working within the additional roles), we introduce you to Newcastle GP Services’ and the north east’s original Health and Wellbeing Coach Frazer Solomon. With a long history of related care within the private sector, Frazer explains why his services are the perfect fit in primary care and how, despite his newness to public health, he has already been able to transform the lives of the patients he treats.

Introduction (46 secs)

What is a Health and Wellbeing Coach? (57 secs)

Linking with the wider team (1 min 58 secs)

Shaping the role (2 mins 24 secs)

Patient support groups (3 mins 52 secs)

Expansion of Frazer’s remit (4 mins 47 secs)

Team working (6 mins 5 secs)

Referral pathway (6 mins 45 secs)

PCN construct (7 mins 48 secs)

A disparity in practice referral numbers (8 mins 6 secs)

The importance of promotion and exposure of the role (9 mins 17 secs)

Work base (10 mins 19 secs)

Positive feedback and results (11 mins 2 secs)

What’s the most rewarding part of the job? (12 mins 8 secs)

Caseload numbers and patient management (12 mins 57 secs)

Support networks (13 mins 33 secs)

Establishment of a health and wellbeing team (14 mins 16 secs)

Service development (15 mins 17 secs)

The key components of a Health and Wellbeing person spec. (16 mins 30 secs)

Supporting Health and Wellbeing Coaches to succeed (17 mins 30 secs)


Another reminder that If you are interested in joining the PCN Clinical Director mastermind group programme which Rachel Morris and Ben have setup, or have any questions, please email or – or please check out our dedicated page here.

Jul 11, 2021

Social prescribing is already proving its worth in many practices up and down the country. It is traditionally embedded and under the control of the PCN or health authority but what about when provision of the service is by way of a third-party organisation? Edberts House is a charitable, community-based project in Gateshead who have long been involved in supporting the health and well-being needs of their local populations. It is a testament to their success that they are now responsible for the provision of social prescribing link workers to the health authorities in their area and it is a model that they believe is undoubtedly the most effective in giving the most vulnerable access to fully holistic care. Jackie Jamieson is the Community Linking Project Manager at Edberts House and speaks to Ben about how the third-party model works in practice, the benefits of the model and the impact they are making on the practices they work with - and their patients.


Introductions (33 secs)

What is Edberts House? (43 secs)

How social prescribing at Edberts House was born (1 min 24 secs)

The population and PCNs Edberts House cover (2 mins 41 secs)

How the service works in practice (3 mins 19 secs)

Staffing bases (4 mins 24 secs)

Referral process (5 mins 6 secs)

The role of the social prescriber (5 mins 42 secs)

Caseload numbers (7 mins 7 secs)

Relationships with the PCNs (7 mins 46 secs)

Funding and finance structure (9 mins 17 secs)

Partnership recruitment (9 mins 17 secs)

Meeting referral benchmarks (10 mins 31 secs)

Referral numbers (11 mins 40 secs)

How are the team at Edberts House making a difference? (12 mins 59 secs)

Feedback from practices (14 mins 39 secs)

Linking with other additional roles (15 mins 27 secs)

Planning for the future (16 mins 38 secs)

Are partnership models more likely to succeed? (18 mins 30 secs)

Getting in touch (19 mins 6 secs)


For more information, the Edberts House website is here

Another reminder that If you are interested in joining the PCN Clinical Director mastermind group programme which Rachel Morris and Ben have setup, or have any questions, please email or – or please check out our dedicated page here.


Jul 4, 2021

It’s the next episode in our series of podcasts dedicated to the new roles in primary care. This week, our spotlight is on the relatively newly formed Selby Town PCN care coordination team. Ben is joined by Clinical Director Dr Nick Jackson, Fiona Bell-Morritt, Lead Officer at NHS Vale of York CCG, Dementia Care Coordinator Helen Brazil and Frailty Care Coordinator Alice Houlden to explore the overwhelmingly positive impact the care coordinators are making on the wider team and in particular on the vulnerable members of their patient community. From the beginning of their journey, and the adoption of a population health management strategy, to recruitment and development of the care coordination team, an overview of the role itself and the work that’s encompassed, the benefits on offer to both the internal teams and externally, and the lessons learned; our episode today is testament to the powerful influence that the new roles can make.


Introductions (29 secs)

Selby Town PCN (49 secs)

Why did the PCN team decide to recruit their care coordinators? (1 min 29 secs)

First impressions (1 min 54 secs)

Introducing Fiona (2 mins 15 secs)

Fiona’s role in supporting the introduction of the care coordinators (3 mins 1 sec)

Identifying vulnerable patient groups (3 mins 32 secs)

Hearing from Helen (3 mins 54 secs)

Helen’s previous work experience and why the care coordination role was so appealing (4 mins 14 secs)

The evolution of Helen’s role (4 mins 59 secs)

What is care coordination? From Helen’s point of view (7 mins 56 secs)

Alice’s perspective (9 mins 27 secs)

Alice’s background and why she was attracted to the care coordination role (9 mins 45 secs)

The reality of being a care coordinator (10 mins 15 secs)

Responsibility for Selby Town’s frail population (11 mins 29 secs)

Describing the nature of Alice’s work (12 mins 5 secs)

Practice versus PCN? (12 mins 59 secs)

Measuring success (13 mins 44 secs)

Internal and external benefits (14 mins 47 secs)

The difference that can be made to patients’ lives (15 mins 53 secs)

Impact on other practice staff (19 mins 10 secs)

Developing the service (20 mins 10 secs)

Reflections and lessons learned…starting with Fiona (20 mins 53 secs)

Advice from Nick (22 mins 19 secs)

Helen’s top tips (22 mins 48 secs)

A final word from Alice (24 mins 24 secs)


Another reminder that If you are interested in joining the PCN Clinical Director mastermind group programme which Rachel Morris and Ben have setup, or have any questions, please email or – or please check out our dedicated page here.


Jun 27, 2021

Life as a PCN leader can be a little lonely at the top. When you’re in charge of your organisation, who do you turn to when you need to download, offload, get a general sense of perspective and / or perhaps just some good old-fashioned advice? This is increasingly becoming an issue for many of our most senior staff in general practice and with demand and stress levels at an all-time high, access to great peer support has never been more important. So, enter GP and executive coach Dr Rachel Morris and our very own General Practice Podcast host Ben. With a wealth of hands-on experience as both clinical and executive leaders, they discuss what great peer support looks like, the ingredients required for successful mentorship and coaching, who you should approach and most importantly, what’s on offer with the all-new mastermind group programme they have recently set up.


Introduction (33 secs)

Rachel’s thoughts on peer support and why it is so important (52 secs)

How do you identify the best sources of support? (2 mins 13 secs)

Can talking to peers outside of your PCN really help? (4 mins 26 secs)

Different methods of peer support (6 mins 45 secs)

Optimising a mastermind experience (9 mins 54 secs)

Why accountability matters (11 mins 38 secs)

The ideal demographic of a mastermind group (13 mins 14 secs)

How Rachel and Ben can help with peer support (14 mins 53 secs)

What’s on offer when you join Rachel and Ben’s mastermind programme and who should apply (16 mins 40 secs)

Group rules (17 mins 9 secs)

Finding out more and signup (17 mins 48 secs)

Establishing a mastermind group of your own (!8 mins 12 secs)


If you’re interested in joining the PCN Clinical Director mastermind group programme which Rachel and Ben have setup, or have any questions, please email or

For more information, please check out our dedicated page here


Jun 20, 2021

Just six short months ago, a super group of determined Practice Managers set out on a mission to ensure those in management roles within general practice would have their voices heard – and to recognise the invaluable contribution these roles make in keeping practices and networks running every day. Borne out of collective frustration and dismay at the lack of support and the numbers of highly experienced managers leaving the sector, a not for profit, professional body representing practice managers and those in management roles, the Institute of General Practice Management (IGPM), was founded. In this month’s joint Practice Index and Ockham podcast, we pick up the conversation where we left off November 2020, and hear from the four, formidable founders of the institute about the great strides (and indeed, waves) they have been making since joining forces; from hard-hitting campaigns, recruitment of regional IGPM champions, a proposed accreditation process and the impact they are already making.


Introductions (36 secs)

How has the IGPM taken off? (1 min 2 secs)

Who is on board? (2 mins 57 secs)

Finding the time to nurture and grow the IGPM (4 mins 46 secs)

Professional recognition (5 mins 16 secs)

Support from the LMCs (6 mins 30 secs)

IGPM membership (8 mind 34 secs)

Is the formation of an accreditation process the main goal of the IGPM? (9 mins 31 secs)

Does professional accreditation confine practice management to a particular role? (10 mins 40 secs)

New to partnership scheme (12 mins 38 secs)

‘If I die, it’ll be your fault” (13 mins 5 secs)

Campaign launch (15 mins 15 secs)

Kay gives a key example of why the campaign is much needed (16 mins 10 secs)

What next for the IGPM? (17 mins 14 secs)

Finding out more (18 mins 43 secs)


For more information and to sign up to become a member of the IGPM, please find the website here

Practice Index’s website can be found here

For all enquiries, please contact James Dillon here

Jun 13, 2021

It’s the third in our series of podcasts covering the experiences of those working in the new Primary Care additional roles. This week’s episode features Lisa Barnes, a Health and Wellbeing Coach based within SEOxHA PCN, Oxfordshire. Appointed in September 2020, Lisa is very possibly one of the most experienced health coaches in Primary Care so we invited her to the Ockham couch to talk us through her experiences so far; what exactly a health coach can offer in terms of services, who is most likely to benefit, why linking with community support hubs is key, how health and wellbeing coaches can relieve some of the burden on the medical teams and most importantly, how they can have a positive impact on their patients both directly and indirectly.

Introduction (29 secs)

Lisa’s journey to becoming a health and wellbeing coach (42 secs)

PCN makeup (1 min 33 secs)

What is a health coach? (1 min 57 secs)

Patient demographic (3 mins 11 secs)

Appointment structure (4 mins 27 secs)

The impact a health and wellbeing coach can make (6 mins 22 secs)

Support for GPs (8 mins 17 secs)

Developing the service (9 mins 34 secs)

Where does Lisa’s role fit within the network team? (11 mins 4 secs)

Population health management programme (13 mins 6 secs)

Has there been any internal resistance to Lisa’s appointment? (14 mins 9 secs)

Advice for others thinking of applying to be or starting out as a health and wellbeing coach (15 mins 8 secs)

Advice for GPs, practices and networks considering the appointment of a health and wellbeing coach (16 mins 26 secs)

Why community resources and support matter (17 mins 44 secs)

Getting in touch (18 mins 45 secs)


If you’re inspired to appoint or be appointed as a Health and Wellbeing Coach, you can reach Lisa here

If you have an ARRS success story and / or you are working within one of the additional roles and have a story to share, we would love to feature you on the podcast! Do email Ben at or get in touch via Twitter

Jun 6, 2021

In the second of our series of podcasts covering the experiences of those working in the new Primary Care additional roles, we meet the team from East Merton PCN. GPs Dr Annie Murphy and Dr Mohan Sekeram, talk to Ben about their approach to the employment of the new roles and how they have empowered and enabled their new team members to better support the needs of the patient population, whilst relieving pressure on existing practice staff. They are also joined by Health and Wellbeing Coach Caroline Haines and Paramedic Patricia Murphy who share their experiences of their respective roles so far. How they fit in alongside existing staff across practices and the wider network, how easily they have found the transition into primary care and most importantly, the impact and where they are seeing benefits when it comes to improving health outcomes for their patients.


Introductions (35 secs)

East Merton PCN demographic and their approach to the recruitment of new roles (57 secs)

Why population health management is key (3 mins 12 secs)

Integrating the roles at practice level (4 mins 46 secs)

Caroline tells us what attracted her to health and wellbeing coaching (6 mins 34 secs)

Caroline’s previous experiences and coming into Primary Care as a ‘newbie’ (7 mins 13 secs)

Where does Caroline feel she fits (practice versus PCN)? (8 mins 3 secs)

How the health and wellbeing coaching referral pathway works in practice (8 mins 18 secs)

Positive patient feedback (9 mins 14 secs)

Educating existing staff on health and wellbeing coaching (10 mins 58 secs)

Introducing Patricia, East Merton PCN paramedic (12 mins 5 secs)

Paramedic referral management (12 mins 53 secs)

Linking with other new roles (13 mins 17 secs)

Impact of additional roles on practice, network, and patients (13 mins 55 secs)

Support with overall workload (15 mins 25 secs)

Relieving pressure on GPs (16 mins 23 secs)

Planning for the future (18 mins 15 secs)

Measuring outcomes and patient outreach work (19 mins 22 secs)

Advice to others on embedding additional roles and getting the best from your new workforce (20 mins 46 secs)


If you have an ARRS success story and / or you are working within one of the additional roles and have a story to share, we’d love to feature you on the podcast! Do email Ben at or get in touch via Twitter

May 30, 2021

It’s a podcast with a difference this week! Ben joins forces with Tara Humphrey of THC Primary Care to share the highlights of their recent webinar focusing on the Impact and Investment Fund, introduced very recently as part of the GP and Primary Care Network Contract Settlement. Within the session, Ben and Tara attempt to unpick what the funding means in practice, what value it can add and where the pitfalls may lie alongside how to incorporate the funding into existing financial models and PCN plans, and where the IIF fits within the wider primary care framework. Are the additional monies going to be of benefit or is it simply another burden to manage at a time when general practice is already stretched to the limit?

Welcome and intro from Tara (27 secs)

Why a webinar on the impact and investment fund? (48 secs)

Hello from Ben (1 min 55 secs)

Lessons learned from round 1 (1 min 37 secs)

Network versus practice approach (3 mins 59 secs)

Leveraging social prescribing referrals and the contribution of the ARRS teams (5 mins 52 secs)

Advice to managers and clinical leaders on leading the IIF approach (6 mins 55 secs)

Can the IIF play a useful part in realising the network vision? (9 mins 37 secs)

Ben’s initial thoughts on the updated guidance (10 mins 28 secs)

Opting out (11 mins 14 secs)

Summing up the session so far (12 mins 54 secs)

How might ICSs influence the IIF? (13 mins 54 secs)

The importance of robust financial planning (15 mins 43 secs)

What can the IIF achieve within the 5-year GP contract settlement period? (16 mins 34 secs)

Balancing workforce issues alongside workload pressures (18 mins)

Budgeting for moving QOF targets (19 mins 8 secs)

Good, better, and best financial modelling (20 mins 18 secs)

Conclusions (21 mins 46 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 starts 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 23, 2021

After the accompaniment of “that” letter from NHS England alongside the most recent Standard Operating Procedure, general practice has reacted. Anger, frustration, sadness, shock, and depression are all words permeating through the primary care world at the moment. With workload and demand at an all-time high and staffing numbers stagnating or in decline across many areas, and a (so far, highly successful) vaccination programme to deliver, the general feeling is that this is a slap in the face from central government and the mainstream media alike. There has also been a direct (and much darker) impact on the ground with cases of abuse from patients directed at staff on the rise. Against this depressing backdrop, our joint Practice Index, Practice Manager panel return and are joined by GP and Clinical Director Dr Hussain Gandhi, to reflect on the detail of the letter, the implications of it, the impact on digital evolution in primary care, workload, capacity, patient education and most importantly, how we move forward from here.

Introductions (45 secs)

Nicola’s reaction the letter (1 min 19 secs)

From Robyn’s perspective (2 mins 2 secs)

Gandhi’s view (2 mins 46 secs)

Why was the letter issued? (3 mins 53 secs)

Long term issues with access (4 mins 59 secs)

Diverting attention from the bigger, more long-term challenges (5 mins 38 secs)

The impact on staffing capacity (and turnover) (5 mins 56 secs)

Crunching the staffing numbers (6 mins 36 secs)

Effect on Whole Time Equivalents (WTE) and clinical sessions (7 mins 29 secs)

Can the additional roles make a positive difference? (8 mins 36 secs)

Patient education is key (9 mins 29 secs)

Digital evolution (10 mins 13 secs)

Signposting patients to the most appropriate care provider (11 mins 20 secs)

What happens now re. remote consultations? (12 mins 35 secs)

Online consultations; help or hindrance when considering total demand (14 mins 29 secs)

Balancing telephone, online and face to face consults (16 mins 20 secs)

Why is demand at an all-time high? (17 mins 16 secs)

Patient appreciation and understanding (19 mins 19 secs)

The impact of the NHSE letter for practices on the ground (19 mins 57 secs)

How do we respond? (22 mins 12 secs)

The Institute of General Practice Management (IGPM) view (22 mins 45 secs)

Final thoughts from Gandhi (23 mins 26 secs)


The IGPM are currently running a campaign to raise awareness of the abuse suffered by general practice staff right now. View and promote here: (short clip) and (long clip)   


May 16, 2021

In the first of a series of podcasts shining a spotlight on the ARRS new roles and those working in them, Ben is joined by Kosiwa Lokosu, an experienced Senior Occupational Therapist who has recently taken up her first post in primary care. Here, Kosiwa shares a fascinating and inspirational insight into her life as an OT before general practice, the recruitment process from her perspective, the integration of her team within the wider PCN, her work and her patients, and her advice for those considering setting up an OT service in their own areas (and the key considerations for this).

Introduction (43 secs)

What led Kosiwa towards becoming an OT? (53 secs)

Kosiwa’s experiences to date (1 min 38 secs)

Starting in general practice (3 mins 7 secs)

PCN demographic (4 mins 37 secs)

Team structure (5 mins 34 secs)

Base and space (6 mins 26 secs)

Working across practices and referrals in (7 mins 17 secs)

Creation of a referral criteria (8 mins 40 secs)

Conclusion of treatment (9 mins 14 secs)

Referral quality and appropriateness (10 mins 1 sec)

OT caseload and division of time (11 mins 18 secs)

Clinical supervision budget (13 mins 3 secs)

Progressing the service (13 mins 27 secs)

Patient feedback (15 mins 3 secs)

A positive impact on general practice (16 mins 9 secs)

Linking with community mental health services (17 mins)

Advice for those who are considering employing an OT (17 mins 18 secs)

The pros of a multi-disciplinary model (18 mins 41 secs)

Getting in touch (19 mins 37 secs)


To get in touch with Kosiwa, you can email her here or follow her on Twitter

Catch up with Kosiwa’s blog here

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.


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