Month: June 2015

The GP ‘Brand’ and recruitment: Lessons from the business world

Louise Skioldebrand is a partner, appraiser and trainer based in Stowmarket, Suffolk. After the first round of recruitment only 72% of UK GP training posts were filled, with some areas as low as 36%…. we can look at possible reasons for this; young doctors are having to commit so early to their career choice, younger doctors preferring urban areas, and medical student selection at 18 being so academically skewed that they don’t want to consider GP as a career. The current crisis has led the West Suffolk GPST scheme trainers to focus on recruitment and have had the privilege of being involved in two workshops led by Richard Mosley and Simon Barrow. They are experts in ‘Employer Brand Management’ and have written books on the subject. The ‘Employer Brand’ is defined as ‘the package of functional, economic and psychological benefits provided by employment and identified with the employing company’. The main role of the brand is to provide a coherent framework for management to simplify and focus priorities, increase productivity and improve recruitment, retention and commitment. So how can we apply this to general practice? Let’s look at what we need to focus on: Employer brands provide a focal point for: Aspiration (eg Royal Shakespeare Company – it’s a company any actor should have on their resume); Identity (World Wildlife Fund – I’m proud to tell people where I work); Engagement (Pret a Manger –...

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Acute primary care in an integrated NHS

Professor Roger Jones is editor of the British Journal of General Practice. The tsunami of chronic disease management – the ageing population, rocketing rates of non-communicable diseases, and increasing complexity – have dominated much of the debate about the future of general practice and of the NHS. The crucial function of general practitioners in making accurate, timely diagnoses in patients presenting with acute symptoms is easily overlooked, yet is at the very core of primary care. The implications of this for mending the fractures in the system and for the design of integrated models of care came home to...

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Altmetrics: now available for BJGP articles

The world of scholarly publishing is changing rapidly, partly in response to digital publication, and also with more focus on the dissemination and implementation of published research. Traditional bibliometrics, such as the impact factor, have been used to measure aggregated citation rates as a proxy measure of journal quality. There is now more interest in looking at article-level and author-level metrics. Peer-review publication is one component of an ‘ecosystem’ of dissemination, which includes, for example, citations, news and media coverage, discussion on social media and websites, and inclusion in practice guidelines. These new metrics – ‘altmetrics’ – defined as anything that is not a citation, can be captured in a number of ways. The BJGP has launched the Altmetric donut, a colourful, arresting image which depicts the various media which have paid attention to a given article, with a numerical score reflecting the number of ‘mentions’. The Altmetric buttons, appearing within the ‘Info’ tab of each article, are not substitutes for traditional bibliometrics, but we think will become a useful addition to understanding how research results ‘get out’ and are incorporated into...

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Seismic changes in GP teaching – where will the new GPs come from?

Alex Harding is a GP and academic based in Exeter. UK General Practitioners are the largest part of the medical workforce, deliver the most care and deliver this care highly effectively. Most people who have ventured abroad and talked about health are surprised at the envious comments from patients and practitioners alike about the UK health system under the NHS. However the UK GP workforce has not kept pace with the increases in healthcare need, increases in similar workforces abroad or increases in other health professionals in the UK. In order to address this and an impending GP workforce crisis the English Department of Health has mandated HEE to ensure that by next year 50% of graduates will opt for GP training. At present however, 19% of final year students want to be GPs and many GP training schemes are struggling to recruit enough graduates. In some parts of the country there are now 40% vacancy rates. There is some good research that shows that exposure to general practice as a medical student has a strong positive effect on future career choice and so appropriate general practice experience as a medical student is an important part of workforce planning. With this in mind, we surveyed the UK medical schools regarding undergraduate and postgraduate teaching provision and how this was supported in financial and academic terms. We used standard methods to...

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“I am sorry”: Burnout, bad day or normal general practice?

Dr S Vashisht qualified in Cardiff, trained in London and is a GP in Nottingham. It will be our 30 year re-union soon and I will be travelling to Cardiff to reminisce with my classmates of 1985. That Class of 1985 is now full of fifty-something-year-old doctors. Thirty years is a long time in medicine. I can remember that as a newly trained GP, my non-medical friends would tell me their tales of experience with the health service and with their GPs.  “I have phoned my GP for an appointment and I have been given an appointment in two weeks’ time. Two weeks’ time! I am ill now, and I could be dead in two weeks” one friend told me. I tried in vain to explain about the system of appointments. My friend didn’t understand that most flu-like illnesses are self-limiting. She felt unwell and wanted to feel better as soon as possible. Surely her GP should be able to prescribe something that would make her feel better? Thirty years later I have a similar conversation with many patients. They do not want to take time off work, because of the strict monitoring of ‘sick time’ off in most work places. They have been unwell for three, five or seven days already. I examine them and tell them that it may take up to 3 weeks to get better...

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The British Journal of General Practice and BJGP Open are bringing research to clinical practice. This is where we add the debate and opinion to help ensure everyone benefits from that research.

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