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It’s not always fair weather – so let’s enjoy the sun while it lasts

1 June 2006

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Cathryn Bateman
Consultant Editor
E [email protected]

As I write this, my home office (which at times also functions as a playroom, a laundry or a general dump) is basking in sunshine and I sit here amazed that we have had such stability, weatherwise – about 10 days of sun, at my last count – in one go. Is it the calm after the storm (of which we have had many), or the calm before the storm?

Cool, calm and reflective
The same could be said about life in general practice at the moment. The recent tempest seems to have abated. Following all the recent changes with practice-based commissioning (PbC), the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) update in April and the publicity surrounding Patricia Hewitt’s various conference attendances, everything seems to have gone a little bit quiet. Or is this only from where I’m standing? Maybe it’s just apathy setting in after one change too many. Anyway, it’s nice to have a bit of quiet time for reflection before revving up the engine again, so to speak. I am just wondering what will be “reinvented” next?

I guess a lot of the inactivity is due to the reorganisation of many of our primary care trusts (PCTs). Things certainly seem a little quieter since the nod was given for a merger in my neck of the woods. I wonder how many times we have been in this position. I, for one – and I have not been around for that long – can remember at least three reorganisations, and I imagine there are many of you who are aware of more. But when will they, or we, get it right? It saddens me to see the world evolve only to end up back in the same place again a few years later. You would think we would all be good at this by now! Am I just feeling cynical, or perhaps suffering from heat exhaustion?

Welcome contributions
Anyway, the current hiatus has given us  all time to contribute to this, the third edition of Management in Practice. I know I have said this before, but your feedback and contributions are most warmly welcomed; so once again thank you for all your input.

We are particularly grateful to, among others of course, Chris Jenkins of the Hall Green Health surgery in Birmingham. Chris’s practice was referred to by medical property specialist Val Clinton in the previous issue, in an article on government plans for integrated healthcare services. Val suggested that this demanded a new approach to premises development. No one could know more about this than Chris. Not only was she actively involved in the development of new surgery premises, but she also had the added pressure of bringing a number of individual practices together to formulate one practice partnership, to be housed in the new accommodation. Chris describes her experiences and explains her survival techniques on page 40.

Thanks, too, to Jude Bedderson of the Lavender Hill Practice, in Battersea, London. Jude was the first person to write to us following the publication of our first issue back in November – so who better to feature in our “day in the life” profile? (And she’s on the cover, too!) I personally have found these items very uplifting, and have tended to head straight for them when the magazine arrives. It’s wonderful to see the great diversity of tasks that exists in this job, housed under the one title of “practice manager”. I am keen to invite practices from all areas to contribute to this section. No need for anything too technical; a lighthearted look at your practice would be perfect.

Anyway, the sunshine beckons …