A view from a GP

Dr. Karen Clarke, GP at Meon Medical Centre in rural Stratford-upon-Avon, recently joined NHS South Warwickshire CCG’s Governing Body as a Member Practice Representative.

Here, Karen gives us an insight into working with the newly formed CCG.

“My practice, Meon Medical Centre, is one of the 36 practices that together form NHS South Warwickshire CCG. Before I joined the CCG as a Member Practice Representative on the Governing Body in May, my involvement with the CCG had been to represent my practice at monthly Members’ Council meetings and attend the buddy group meetings every four months.

“I joined as a commissioning novice in a development role that had been created to try to bring a fresh face to an experienced team. Over the last two months I’ve been attending meetings to get a feel for what the CCG is working on and I’ve been able add an alternative GP perspective to the discussions that are going on.

“My first impressions have been different to what I expected; and I have been pleasantly surprised
by how much input the GPs on the Governing Body have. GP views are respected and the group
is genuinely driven by clinical aspirations. Part of me had expected some level of a ‘managerdriven’
environment with a lot of jargon and I’m pleased to say, this isn’t the case.

“It is fair to say we are tempered by restraints as we are working within a finite financial budget and need to be realistic; however, the starting point is getting the best services possible for the people of south Warwickshire.

“The GPs on the Governing Body ensure a grassroots approach and contribute actual real-life clinical experience. It appears to me that ideas are being formulated from the bottom up. Those on the Governing Body, led by Dr. David Spraggett, are motivated and are utilising this opportunity to commission services which are appropriate for our particular population. The CCG is trying hard to engage with all the member GP practices to take advantage of vital local knowledge and to gather the ideas that are out there.

“The CCG is also forging links with both social care services and patients. Patient input has been encouraged much more than ever before and is valued by the CCG. I think that the new NHS structure and the way that our CCG is being run is a good framework to commission the best possible services for our patients. The fact that GPs really are at the heart of commissioning I believe can only result in benefits for patients in south Warwickshire.”

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