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A day in the life: Chairing a CCG and working as a salaried GP

Name: Dr Lisa Harrod-Rothwell

Age: 38

Role: Salaried GP, two sessions a week, and chair of NHS Mid Essex CCG

Location: Chelmsford, Essex

05.45: Awoken by a six-year-old jumping on my bed and demanding a morning cuddle.

06.00: Get two of my daughters ready for school and one ready for early morning gym training, then walk the dog.

0750: Herd the girls to our childminder, who will take them to school – but we have forgotten lunchboxes. Am reminded that Daddy never forgets lunchboxes. Sprint home, grab lunches and sprint back.

08.15: Arrive at the practice, check blood results and prepare for morning surgery.

09.00: Patient informs me that the housing authority has asked me to provide evidence that she gets pain when sharing a bed with her partner. I wonder what type of evidence they expect from me exactly.

11.30: We hold a meeting for the GPs to read correspondence over coffee – a valuable opportunity for informal discussion about difficult cases and latest guidelines.

12.30: Pop out for a home visit to an elderly lady who has recently been discharged from hospital and is feeling tired. Numerous professionals are in and out of her house each day and she feels overwhelmed. I make a few calls to find out what the discharge plan was. I feel frustrated by the siloed approach to care – one of the things I’m trying to find solutions for.

13.30: Drive to the CCG office, stopping to take a call from my children’s school on my way.

14.00: Start the afternoon by chairing a system leadership meeting that includes the CEOs of our local hospital, mental health trust and community provider. We must have the right incentives and outcome measures to get people working together better and give patients holistic care that puts them first.

16.30: Elected GPs, three elected practice managers, nine GP reps from the sub-localities and a rep from the LMC gather to advise the CCG, and tell us what’s been going on locally. With 49 practices in my patch, I can’t afford not to get regular feedback from member practices, although reaching out to everyone continues to be a challenge.

We consult them on the progress of local schemes – this month we talk about our two pilots of multidisciplinary care to support GPs in care homes.

The GPs also discuss anything that has been recorded in the issues log this month: slow-moving referrals, late discharge summaries and ways to improve the new online referral process for common problems such as TIAs.

18.35: Collect my girls from the childminder. Am reminded that Daddy is never late. 

20.00: My husband returns home from work, and I head out to train for a 10-mile assault course event (my sister’s idea, not mine). I get home to find dinner ready. It’s a privilege to work with the CCG to help deliver high quality, cost-effective care. But I couldn’t meet the demands of motherhood and both jobs without my husband’s support and flexibility.

22.00: I sit down in my study to address the 100-odd emails I’ve received during the day, from the public, an MP, GPs and CCG colleagues. I do the urgent ones and sign off a press release.

23.30: It’s too late for more work. The remainder will have to wait until the weekend.