A cluster-based toolkit to recruit and retain GPs
Dr Chris Bryant, General Practitioner, Cardiff South West Cluster
Cardiff and Vale UHB
This Bevan Exemplar project brought together a cluster of GP practices in Cardiff to promote recruitment and retention.
Primary care is the bedrock of the NHS, and the key to providing prudent healthcare in the form of cost effective preventative medicine to the population of Wales. However, the sustainability of primary care is threatened by difficulty in recruiting and retaining GPs.
The aim of this project was to explore whether creating a culture of positivity and working together as a cluster of 11 GP practices could help boost recruitment and retention.
To do this, the cluster partnered with Culturvate to use its employee engagement software, Teamphoria. This enabled the cluster to recognise and reward all employees and communicate more effectively.
The cluster created a ‘First5’ education and peer support group for newly qualified GPs working within the area, and held a recruitment event showcasing the benefits of other innovative projects in the cluster and working with third sector partners.
This project demonstrates prudence by working at scale to get the most out of the resources that the cluster already has to improve efficiency.
The major challenge for this project, and an on-going challenge for Wales in general, is the increasing divide between GPs in locum roles and those in substantive posts. There is growing resentment from GP partners about rising locum rates and perceived drop in quality of care provided.
GP trainees that were surveyed as part of this project mostly intended to become locum GPs, with the majority citing better work life balance, lower risk and less responsibility as their reasons for this.
During this project, the cluster tried to engage with trainees and locum GPs and spread a message of the positives of working in the same area for a longer period.
As a result, the cluster was successful in recruiting two new GPs to one of its practices. This has enabled improved patient access to primary care, and less pressure on appointment time. It has also greatly reduced spending on locum GPs, improved continuity of care, and has enabled GP surgeries to provide more timely access to treatments such as minor surgery and joint injection.
The recruitment event has raised the profile of the cluster and was well attended by health board members, improving links and hopefully leading to further collaboration.
Cardiff South West has recently been awarded a transformation fund bid to become a legal entity and expand the use of social prescribing schemes to reduce social isolation. The cluster intends to take Teamphoria forward and to use it to engage with the new members of its expanding multidisciplinary team.
Following the success of the recruitment event, this will become an annual event to attract trainees and newly qualified GPs and reinforce the cluster’s positive message.
Did you know?
The formation of a First5 group has resulted in improved peer support and ongoing education for GPs in the most challenging part of their career. It is hoped that this will improve retention.
Part of cohort Bevan Exemplar Projects 2017-18