GP leadership training promotes career development and recruitment

Press release – 11th October 2016

A group that represents more than 60 Suffolk GP practices hopes a new training programme – believed to be the first of its kind in the UK – will help promote career development and encourage more doctors to stay in the county.

Suffolk GP Federation has been working hard to address ongoing concerns around GP recruitment and retention.

It has now launched a Leadership Development Programme aimed at senior doctors who are looking to progress their careers and take on more responsibility.

Dr Paul Driscoll, Suffolk GP Federation Chair and Medical Director, said: “GP practices in Suffolk are working under severe pressure and – as has been well reported – this is often linked to difficulties surrounding the recruitment of health professionals. Many of our more experienced GPs are also deciding to retire – leaving something of a vacuum.

“As a Federation we are working proactively to address the challenge in the most effective way and we have a number of initiatives that aim to make general practice more appealing.

“It’s vital that the doctors leaving the profession are replaced and the aim of the Leadership Development Programme is to create a pool of younger, enthusiastic GPs who have the skills and knowledge to drive healthcare forward in the county over the next five to 10 years.

“To the best of our knowledge it’s the only training of its type in the country and we hope that it demonstrates to both newly qualified and senior GPs that Suffolk is an attractive place to work – where there is an opportunity to advance their career and further their expertise.”

A group of 13 doctors enrolled on the first programme, which included discussions on the future of general practice and the main financial, regulatory and legal challenges facing GPs, as well as a talk from Dr Ian McShane, former NHS England National Lead for Long-Term Conditions.

It also explored attendees’ own leadership styles and there was a visit to the Bromley-by-Bow Centre in Tower Hamlets, which focusses primarily on the non-medical aspects of well-being.

The course has already proved successful – with several attendees stepping forward for more senior roles.

They include Dr Akash Karki, a Suffolk locum who has now been appointed Clinical Lead for Suffolk GP+, which provides additional evening and weekend GP appointments in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.

He said: “The programme was very positive and provided a great opportunity to network with like-minded individuals. It gave me a greater awareness of the complexity of the NHS and an insight into how positive change can be delivered.”

Dr Nick Rayner from Oakfield Surgery in Newmarket, who following the course was appointed Executive Director of Suffolk GP Federation, said: “The personal development aspects were a particular highlight – allowing me to better understand my strengths and weaknesses and how to lead. There were also important strategic thinking elements centred around how to encourage people to adapt to change.”

The next Advanced Leadership Development Programme will run in November. The course runs alongside Leading the Way – an initiative for newly qualified doctors who have recently joined the profession.