Gordon’s blogging debut

Hot weather and lemons, this isn't health advice from my other role as a practicing GP but my memories of a recent trip to Italy, I was over there for a wedding and have been playing catch up since getting back.

Hot weather and lemons, this isn’t health advice from my other role as a practicing GP but my memories of a recent trip to Italy, I was over there for a wedding and have been playing catch up since getting back.

By the time I got over to Italy both England and Italy had both been knocked out of the World Cup but for reasons unbeknown to me I decided to have a flutter on Costa Rica beating Holland suffice to say my retirement fund didn’t benefit!

Coming back to work provided me with a reminder of the perils of modern office life and in particular the overflowing mailbox. It was so full I’d exceeded my storage limit and couldn’t reply to anyone. If anyone has a handy tip about email management get in touch.

Mailbox issues and misguided bets aside I attended the most recent meeting of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board where we discussed the latest national initiatives and what impact they could have on our local plans. The three key areas we looked at were:

  • The Care Act which will have implications for CCGs and local authorities and lead to a further squeeze on already tight finances. Councils must now enable people to access independent financial advice to help steer them through the complexities of care funding, a duty to make provisions to safeguard adults from abuse or neglect and there is a clearly defined duty placed on local authorities to promote the health and wellbeing of carers.
  • Children and Families Act which gives greater protection to vulnerable children, better support for children whose parents are separating, a new system to help children with special educational needs and disabilities, and help for parents to balance work and family life.
  • The Better Care Fund was once again on the agenda as we look to see how we can get best prepare for this expected pooling of resources between the NHS and local authorities. This is linked to the wider integrated care agenda nationally and locally. We are pleased that Leeds is recognised as an integrated care pioneer city and it is likely that we will be one of the first early implementer sites for the Better Care Fund.

Back at my GP practice we have been working on implementing the enhanced service for over 75s, an enhanced service is a term used in the GP contract which all practices have to sign so that they can deliver services on behalf of the NHS. One of the key elements of this new guidance is that all patients over 75 will have a named GP. So we’ve been writing to all our eligible patients letting them know who their named GP is.

To help us prepare for the future care needs of over 75s as well as other patients with long term conditions we have been working through a typical care plan we’d expect and how we can provide proactive care management in the future. Our practice will be working with NHS Leeds West CCG just like all our other fellow member practices to see how we can share ideas and best practice so that we can help our patients by reducing unnecessary admissions to hospital. We particularly need to support those who have a long term condition so that they can self manage their condition as much as possible as this reduces the risk of unplanned hospital admission.

After all that I think I need something to do to relax and luckily for me our finance team, who double up as the CCG’s social event managers and fancy dress planners, have organised a trip to York Races – I don’t think they’ll come to me for any betting tips though.

And I want to end my blog with a plug. I’m part of a blues band and we’ll be playing at the Pudsey Health and Wellbeing Centre on Friday 29 August, tickets are only a fiver including a drink. If you can’t make it don’t worry you can always buy a limited edition Black Dog Blues album on CD (yes I’m old school maybe one day we’ll be on iTunes!) – yours for only £5 and the proceeds go to Bradford-based charity the Ear Trust. For tickets to the gig or to get your hand on the limited edition album please email carolyn.dewhirst@nhs.net.

Right that’s the first blog nerves over and done with, catch up with you all soon. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.



Dr Gordon Sinclair is the Clinical Chair for NHS Leeds West CCG as well as a practicing GP based at Burton Croft Surgery in Headingley, Leeds.