Appreciating great practices: GP quality improvement to support GP recruitment and retention

In late 2018, AP was asked to do some work to support GP retention by Lincolnshire CCG.  We worked closely with Jill Guild, Head of GP International Recruitment & Retention Programme (NHS England & NHS Improvement) and Dr Hannah Lawan – a GP who is also an NHSE Primary Care Fellow leading on the Attraction and Retention of GPs (both pictured). Hannah is passionate about applying strength based approaches, and attended one of our two-day AI courses. 

They put us in touch with local practices doing innovative work and staff took some time out to tell us about the new things they were doing. They talked about how they were working differently across the whole practice to improve quality and service for patients and support staff morale in challenging times. Many of those staff are increasing their skills so that patients can be seen in different ways, for instance, paramedics are being funded by practices to become prescribers. It not only increases their skill set, but improves overall service delivery and patient experience. 

We also facilitated a Curry and Conversation evening, attended by 18 GPs who shared their enthusiasm, ideas and dedication to their work. At every point we heard the passion and commitment of a wide range of practice staff.

They talked about increased administration support for GPs to relieve the admin burden, like making appointments for referrals and document management; pharmacists in practice also processed discharge letters and medication changes.

Our focus was on finding out more about what GP practices were already doing to innovate and improve systems and processes – and we found a wonderfully large number of examples of great practice, innovation and collaboration within the region. GP surgeries are transforming and adapting before our eyes, with ideas that feed into NHS England’s 10 high impact actions for general practice.

“This place glows in the dark – it’s a little gem,

hidden away”

Patient comment relayed by a staff member of one of the practices

Although the prevailing narrative is about a shortage of GPs in surgeries, we found that practices are taking initiatives and making a raft of changes to make sure that patients are seen and treated in as prompt and effective way as possible, reducing pressure on their GPs. NHS England and NHS Improvement are increasing staff retention by doing amazing work supporting newly-trained and newly-arrived GPs.

This boost board in a GP staff room was a colourful example of morale boosting activity


If you’d like to find out more, this report – Appreciating Great Practices – Lincolnshire 2019 – shows how the improvements that GPs are making have parallels to other work we’ve been doing within NHS.. We also shared some AI tools with the practices and have included them in the report.