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What happened when a group of GPs went to Downing Street

Dr Jonathan Cope describes what happened when he went to 10 Downing Street to discuss new models of primary care

On 2 March, a group of eight GPs as well as myself and Dr Nav Chana from the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) visited 10 Downing Street to talk to David Cameron’s senior health policy advisor about the new models of primary care we’ve been developing.

The visiting party was described as primary care Jedi Knights

Our practice, Beacon Medical Group, was chosen to be a rapid test site for the NAPC’s Primary Care Home model, along with 14 other sites at the end of last year. The Primary Care Home model is designed to test and develop new models of primary care provision in line with the Five Year Forward View road map. Beacon Medical Group was formed in 2014 with the merger of three practices forming a single partnership of 33,000 patients. We have an established reputation for innovation and developing new services so applying to be a rapid test site for the Primary Care Home model was a natural progression.

We have an ambitious project programme which will see us working more closely with our communities to address three main themes, including tackling the unmet social and psychological needs that drive health activity. We will also improve the range of services that are available to our communities closer to home, and will also improve young people’s access to healthcare.

We had been invited to Number 10 to share our project plans with the Prime Minister’s senior health policy advisor.

Once we had negotiated the stringent security, which was very similar to that at any airport these days, we were excited to be escorted through the famous black door. We were relieved of all of our electronic items and shown into a waiting room. Our host then showed us into a large meeting room for our hour-long meeting. Downing Street was nothing like what is portrayed in films; it was business-like and down to earth, as was the health advisor that we met.

The meeting was very positive, it was a privilege for all the sites represented to showcase their project plans. I think there was genuine respect shown for the progress made to date, and ambition demonstrated across all of the pilots.

I feel we represented primary care well, showing that there is an appetite and enthusiasm for innovation and change to better meet the needs of our communities. We are hoping that our request for support and resources to help bring these projects to life will be met. The visiting party was described by the health policy advisor as representing a group of passionate innovators, or primary care Jedi Knights.

Dr Jonathan Cope is a GP in Plymouth

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Readers' comments (21)

  • This comment has been removed by the moderator

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  • Congratulations on putting so many words together with ease and cohesion. The only thing that's missing is gist.

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  • Innovation is one thing but getting GPs to agree is another.

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  • Blablabla........another stink... eh sorry, think tank activity!

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  • ???? how is this going to help the ongoing recruitment and retention crisis

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  • This meeting is a showpiece of spin from a man who we knows is not fit for office - he is not guilty of tax evasion but he has lost respect,trust and confidence as our PM.

    He lacks honesty and integrity of what the NHS has done under his watch.
    read on - do u trust him as your PM.

    On 16 May 2011 Cameron made a speech at Ealing Hospital, and said, amongst other things:
    "...this government will never, ever take risks with the NHS. We will make it better."

    "...there’s the problem of too much top-down control, stopping doctors and nurses from doing what they know is best."

    "Doctors and nurses are asking what our plans will mean for them. We hear that – and we want to work with you, not against you."

    "In our NHS, nurses and doctors won’t be passengers, they will be drivers, supported by managers rather than in conflict with them."

    "They understand the needs of patients, they know what’s needed so they will have new powers to transform patient care in a way that’s simply never been possible before.

    "They will have the money and the freedom to complement their expertise and knowledge."
    Is this the NHS now ?

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  • ...they went native. Well done Dr Chameleon.

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  • boom liquer

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  • "I feel we represented primary care well, showing that there is an appetite and enthusiasm for innovation and change to better meet the needs of our communities". Is there? Given that most of the funds for such ventures are short term I have no appetite or enthusiasm. Just have a look at Brighton and Hove.

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