We are living in unprecedented times. The pace of change being forced upon us is both astounding and bewildering, with massive changes happening literally within hours.
What is very clear is that the work within the NHS can’t stop; it faces unparalleled pressure but is also adapting the way it works in order to manage the challenges it’s facing. The NHS team is simply amazing; how they do what they do we have no idea.
At SCW we are committed to providing the support we can to help what they do. As an organization we work with all parts of the health and care system; however, within the Primary Care Team we specialise with General Practice, either individually or operating at scale, through working with Primary Care Networks, GP federations and supporting practice mergers, all aligned with redesigning the workload and the workforce. That isn’t going to change; our goal remains to support practices to create a working environment they are happy with, leading to a working environment that others are likely to be happy to work in, making recruitment and retention that bit easier.
The one thing the current crisis has changed is the way we work with and support our client base, with a greater emphasis on phone, email and online work. Whilst the shift to working online had often been resisted, due to the changing circumstances as a result of COVID-19, it has now happened in literally less than a week. What has already become clear, even in the short time, is that we can still deliver the outcomes you require, online. Yes, it’s different, but if people switch their camera on and genuinely join and engage, the online meetings can be just as effective as a face-to-face meeting, but they save a lot of time by not having people travel and obviously keeping people safe during this time.
This week our Primary Care Team will have worked remotely online on all five days. A mix of support for individual practices, some PCN support to keep recruitment processes on track, and some background work for a GP federation in the early phase of development where we have been able to deliver work on governance, back office, policies, communications and engagement and support with getting their strategy and business plan developed.
We have also been involved with a pathway redesign involving General Practice, Mental Health and Community Services. People involved were not used to using the technology to meet and communicate virtually, but we made it work. With a fully engaged online group we were able to reach exactly the same point as we had planned to achieve in the face-to-face meeting. This progress has kept the project on track.
It’s new and different, but already we are sensing online working and client support is going to prove a good way forward, not just for COVID-19, but in the longer term as well.For more information on how we can help you in Primary Care, or to set up an initial exploratory meeting online, please contact: Alison Westmacott, Director of Primary Care