Staff members celebrating Christmas

With all the evidence indicating that the NHS is facing yet another bleak winter with significant (an understatement) pressure across the health and care system including waiting list challenges, A and E waits and increased pressure on General Practice to name a few, my thoughts turned to the ARRS (Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme) roles and the impact they are making.

I came across a post on a social media channel the other day, asking what other PCNs were doing about their ARRS staff and their Christmas lunch/dinner/do. The contributor asked whether others were arranging separate events for their ARRS team. I was gratified to see that the large majority of replies confirmed my thoughts that the people in these roles are part of the PCN providing services to the population, and a core function within their integrated multi-disciplinary teams.

But it got me thinking.

Anecdotally we understand that there is a significant turnover in ARRS-funded team members, so why is this?

Feeling valued and having a sense of belonging are key factors in whether people stay in roles or move on. Are we addressing these needs for our ARRS-funded team members?

Are the right people matched to the roles? Have PCNs looked at the needs of their population and recruited to address these needs, creating innovative services with the ARRS-funded team members working seamlessly with and across practices’ staff, adding value to the services and care offered to the population and being valued for their contribution?

Workforce planning seen through the lens of population health and need can open up a world of new possibilities.

With integrated neighbourhood teams high on the agenda and a primary theme in ICS strategies, the creation of well-functioning, high-performing and inclusive teams beyond traditional disciplines and organisational boundaries is key. Remember a leader doesn’t have to have all the answers. Creating an environment where there is valued representation and open dialogue is a fundamental leadership skill - listening to and learning from the experience of others to shape and inform decisions.

The secret to successful integration?

Successful integration is characterised by strong relationships, trust and mutual understanding, the combination of which will enhance the sense of being valued and belonging. 

My hypothesis is that if opportunities and role identification were based on population need, if arms were wrapped around these new team members, if new and different perspectives were listened to and valued, then the impact on workload, access and experience could be huge.

There are a lot of 'ifs' above and there are many examples of PCNs embracing this approach – for others perhaps now is the time to take a leap of faith.

P.s.  Please invite your ARRS-funded team members to share the mince pies.

If you'd like to talk more about ARRS team integration and General Practice workforce planning This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Director of Primary Care, Strategy and Transformation

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