Setting our goals for 2017/18

“The best way to predict your future is to create it”

Abraham Lincoln

The Federation has recently completed a review of our 2016/17 objectives and set new goals for 2017/18. I thought I’d take this opportunity to comment on our vision for the upcoming financial year.


GPs at scale

Several groups have formed in Suffolk – Ipswich Primary  Care, Suffolk Primary Care and Deben Health Group. It is clear that general practice must change in some way but it is unclear what’s the best model. It is interesting that several models have come forth. The Federation is keen to support all such models and is actively doing so.


Without a stable workforce none of our objectives can be fulfilled.  While continuing to support  GPs I am increasingly aware of the impending shortage of practice nurses and nurse practitioners, with many also retiring in the next five years. The Federation is actively involved in providing development support for practice nurses. We are investigating how we can make general practice attractive to new nurses and our  chief nurse Sheila  Smyth is looking at working with local training schemes to provide placements in primary care.

GP representation

The Federation continues to be involved with work to establish Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs) for East and West Suffolk. This involves a considerable amount of meetings which has put pressure on our small management team. However, as Tracey Vell demonstrated when she talked at the recent healthcare conference at Trinity Park, the importance of primary care being represented at the top table is vital.

Primary care

We have moved into managing a practice at Walton in Felixstowe and are looking at taking on other practices in the near future. The Federation’s Board is acutely aware of the conflicts that may possibly arise. The Federation is a supporter of all  member  practices in  Suffolk and  will not  favour those that we  are running. We are working hard to ensure conflicts of interest do not arise.

Extended and out of hours general practice

GP+ continues to be a great success, rolling out to several new bases in the last few months. It has put pressure on providing clinicians for these extra appointments, but we have nearly 40 now in the pipeline, which is a real testament to the quality of the service and engagement of our local workforce. We believe that the co-operative model and ethos we have based GP+ on makes it an attractive proposition for colleagues. We are also bidding for out of hours, currently delayed, with a similar model. I believe that being involved in out of hours provision can have a significant impact on the system as a whole but, must be appropriately resourced with a realistic model.

Sharing best practice

The Federation has been involved in ground-breaking services such as community diabetes in North East Essex, collaborative working in Felixstowe,  community pain and  ultrasound services and GP+. We will be working to ensure that we do more to publicise these successes. We will also have a more expanded resources page for colleagues locally and nationally, detailing the Federation’s projects.

Lets  get creating …….