A summary of Clarity's March Conference

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Hosted by the Said Business School, Oxford, the day was an opportunity for all to share progress and learning from projects being worked on around the company, and to catch up with friends old and new.

The event opened with some news. Firstly, that Naomi Gadian would be leaving us in June to pursue her dream role in Preventive Care. Secondly, that Paul Sly would be joining us in April as a new partner. Paul introduced himself as an Auditor who saw the light, and after 10 years working in the NHS as a FD and CEO had been running his own consultancy business for the last 4 years. We wished Paul a warm welcome and looked forward to having him on board from April.

For the remainder of the morning and much of the afternoon we fed back on work being done by employees and associates across the country, including:

  • The running of the Project Management Office for the National QIPP Support Programme
  • Sustainable Financial Turnarounds in Bedfordshire and Central London CCGs
  • The running of regional Winter Rooms in the South East and South West
  • Reviewing Adult Mental Health Services in Southern Health Foundation Trust
  • Analyzing Patient Flow in North Hampshire Hospitals
  • Improving Clinically Effective Commissioning in Sussex CCGs.

The rest of the afternoon was spent having our photos taken, and meeting with associates, many of whom are as intrinsic a part of Clarity as those who run it. After tea, coffee and catch-ups, we adjourn next door to receive a parsed and polished version of the morning’s updates, and to discuss existing projects and plans for the future.

Later we’re joined by Dominic Hardy, currently Head of Primary Care for NHS England. He outlines his plans for the next 5 years, then bears the inevitable and extensive cross-examining with good humour, grace, and insight.

He discusses the difficulties of building a service for an ageing population, and the shifting demographics of our GP workforce, a third of which are due to retire within the next 5-8 years.

It’s no secret that as a nation, we’re getting older. And with age come long-term health conditions, often several at a time. Compared to the average 30-year-old, over-75s cost the health service 3 times more; for over-80s this is 5 times. Dementia has also risen by 50% in the past decade.

Add to this the fact that young and training doctors are widely discouraged from becoming General Practitioners, and that most of those entering the profession are female and therefore more likely to leave at an earlier stage in their careers, and it paints quite a challenging scenario!

But Mr Hardy sees some hope in increasing the number of available training places, collaboration between surgeries, and in the support networks growing up around young GPs.

Given time these things may go some way towards rebalancing the status quo, and towards shifting perceptions of the profession among medical students, existing GPs, and the medical community at large.

The evening finishes on a lighter note (in the foyer with food), where the future of the NHS is discussed at length, and set to rights on no fewer than thirty separate occasions. However, no-one is around to record it happening, so each discussion and thought experiment drifts, wanders and fades quietly into the night.

Roll on 19th June, and the next event of its kind, this time in The Studio, Birmingham.

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