Grow Your Own #2

11th October 2016

“Anyone can do it with a format, sweetie.  The trick is to do it without one” (Duke Ellington on jazz)

CEPNs (Community Education Provider Networks)

I attended the HEEOE Autumn Seminar on CEPNs. These are looking at streamlining and enhancing education and training in the community. Their focus goes beyond the traditional GP training/VTS schemes, embracing a much wider range of health professionals including community nurses, physician associates, healthcare assistants, administrative staff and pharmacists. What is surprising is that there is currently no coordination of these courses and the variety of local providers with little communication between them. The workforce crisis is well recognised in primary care and many of the new models of working rely heavily on a wider range of professionals.

It was good to hear that John Howard, our postgraduate dean, felt that the GP practice was the most appropriate hub, but also rather than contracts with dozens of individual practices, it may be possible to do this at federation level. The role of the deanery would then be in quality assurance.  Only about 40% of practices are currently training GPs and I know there are lots of good practices out there with a lot to offer, and this may be one way of helping them into the training environment.

Clearly money is an issue and it needs to be appropriately resourced for us to take on this extra work, but the benefit for us is clear. It does seem incredible to me that here in 2016 it is only recently that there have been bespoke courses for nurse practitioners and practice nurses.

The role of these Community Education Provider Networks is also mentioned in the Professor Martin Rowland’s excellent report for the Primary Care Workforce Commission, “The Future of Primary Care”.  He gave an excellent speech and much of his work is reflected in the GP Forward View.

We know from colleagues, particularly trainees working in secondary care that the perception of primary care is inaccurate, underplays the challenges, complexity and opportunity in primary care. Therefore the more learners we can have experiencing it first-hand can only be good. As ever this will need funding but it is good that our deanery is fully supportive of them, and hopefully we as a Federation will be able to help facilitate.

This is new, unchartered territory, but, as my Northern mate Dave says, “if tha’ fancies it, get amongst it”.