First meeting of GP pathfinders
Friday 4th February, 2011
West Sussex GPs meet Prime Minister David Cameron - Dr Katie Armstrong, Coastal West Sussex Federation Chair - third from left, Dr Amit Bhargava, Locality lead for Crawley - fifth from left, Dr Minesh Patel, Locality lead for Mid Sussex - fourth from right, Sarah Ellett, Head of Organisation, Governance & People at Coastal West Sussex Federation - second from right.
The first wave of GP groups to take the lead in the plans for commissioning health services gathered at No 10 Downing Street last week (26 January), to meet with the Prime Minister and celebrate the start of the GP Pathfinder Programme.
In a clear expression of the momentum gathering behind the Government’s health reforms, more than 4,000 GP practices across the country are already engaged in pathfinder GP groups.
350 of these practices are in the south east coast region, covering over 65% of the patient population in Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
Marking the start of GP commissioning
Before the reception at Number 10, they attended an event hosted by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, which provided an opportunity to discuss ideas and issues with fellow GPs and the department.
The event launched the Pathfinder Learning Network for GP consortia to share experiences and best practice as they prepare to take on commissioning responsibilities for their local communities.
The National Leadership Council, working in collaboration with the NHS Institute, is also offering leaders of GP pathfinders and their teams access to a number of development tools, including personal and team coaching, to support them in the transition to the new system.
Designing healthcare services in your local areas
Addressing the audience, Andrew Lansley said: “I welcome the enthusiasm for making the modernisation of the NHS a reality, so we can deliver better care for patients.
"Many of you are already taking on commissioning responsibilities, designing healthcare services in your local areas to meet the needs of your patients, not administrators or Ministers in Whitehall.
“During the coming months it is vital that we share information, ideas and best practice, and address any issues that may arise straight away. That’s why we are launching the Pathfinder Learning Network – to assist and support you through this period of change and to help us to learn from each other.
"We are also making the National Leadership Programme available to all GP Pathfinders. This will provide further tailored support for you and your teams in taking forward your commissioning responsibilities.”
Crawley GP makes his mark
Dr Amit Bhargava (to left of David Cameron in picture) from the North East West Sussex Association of Commissioning Consortium said: “Visiting 10 Downing Street and meeting the Prime Minister was an important moment for me, and the passion I saw in my fellow GPs for making a success of this will leave a lasting impression.
“We know the journey is going to be difficult but we believe it’s worthwhile because it will improve the health of the public.”
The full list of successful groups of GPs can be found on the Department of Health website.