The finalists for the General Practice Awards, which celebrate leading examples of innovation, hard work and leadership within primary care, were revealed at the end of August.
The awards, which will be held on 30 November at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel in London, are in their tenth year and, in the run-up to next month’s awards ceremony, Healthcare Leader is profiling the shortlisted candidates.
For this category, judges were looking for people and projects that have had an impact over the past 18 months.
Entrants were not limited to CCG chairs or STP leads, but could also be individuals who had taken an innovative idea to the CCG to be commissioned, or had implemented a practice-based service that benefits the local community.
Jane Haros, NHS Gloucestershire CCG
Associate director of nursing, Jane Haros, has been called an ‘exceptional leader’ by colleagues, and is known for always putting patients and staff at the centre of her work.
Over the past three years, Ms Haros has worked with primary, community and acute services, as well as the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and voluntary services in Gloucestershire.
Her work has contributed to the ‘joined up care and communities’ vision of the CCG, working to integrate health and social care services and continuously improve the care delivered to the community.
Ms Haros has helped implement an initiative, in collaboration with the ambulance trust, to develop personalised care plans.
These care plans, held in a folder by the patient, can be accessed by different healthcare professionals and in some instances help prevent hospital admissions. The concept has been called a ‘fantastic idea’ by the ambulance trust.
Dr Tom Milligan, Practice One Bridlington
Facing a shortage of GPs after going from five GPs to two in his practice, Dr Tom Milligan, GP primary care lead in East Riding of Yorkshire CCG, has had to develop innovative approaches for his practice to survive.
This includes a workflow optimisation project that reduced GP workload by 20 minutes per GP per day, introducing a text system that has reduced DNA rates by 26%, and creating educational videos on systems efficiencies.
Dr Milligan has been called ‘inspirational’ and ‘approachable’ by colleagues, who said he had an ‘evident clarity of vision’ that has enabled him to empower his team and instigate significant change.
He has been praised for continuously sharing best practice from his GP surgery, passing on concepts and methods that can be implemented across the wider CCG.
Asim Mirza, managing director, Firza Group
At the forefront of digital health, Mr Mirza has promoted social media to the profession and pioneered work in artificial intelligence.
He has also developed innovative clinical services, including a care homes project on which he worked with two practices in Maldon, Essex – Longfield Medical Centre and Blackwater Medical Centre.
The initiative saw the switching of care home visits by GPs with visits from clinical pharmacists, freeing up appointment requests by 34% and reducing emergency admissions to zero. Due to its success, the scheme is now being rolled out across the entire STP.
Mr Mirza’s work has also included supporting practices with document management through a team of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Where this service has been implemented, GP workload on administrative tasks has been reduced by around 90%.
Dr Ishani Patel, GP, Lantum and RMPartners
An executive GP partner in North West London, Dr Patel has earned a reputation as an inspiring and ambitious GP.
She co-founded workforce management tool Lantum with the desire to transform general practice from a reactive and transactional culture, to a proactive and value-based service.
The tool, which has been adopted by more than 40 GP federations across the country, aims to prevent spending significant amounts of money on recruitment agencies by providing a cost-effective delivery of services.
This includes equipping clinicians with the tools to manage shift work more efficiently and more closely match demand.
Dr Patel has also led a number of different teams and groups in order to improve cancer referral systems and spotting the early signs of cancer, including the Once for London cancer safety netting steering group and the Transforming Cancer Services Team.
Dr Mark Spencer, Fleetwood Health and Well Being Centre
Dr Mark Spencer has been called the ‘conscience of the NHS’ by colleagues, for qualities such as his advocacy of improved services designed to meet the needs of the local population.
Dr Spencer is co-founder of NHS Collaborate – designed to create a community of leaders in primary care – co-chair of the NHS Alliance, and the clinical lead for primary care transformation for Lancashire and South Cumbria STP.
He has also launched the Healthier Fleetwood initiative, which aims to address causes of ill health as a model of care, rather than just responding to and treating illness once its already manifested itself.
Healthier Fleetwood includes social prescribing, with the aim of helping patients become less lonely, more active and less dependent on the health system.
Dr Spencer’s leadership has resulted in a ‘seismic cultural shift’ among the Fleetwood health and social care workforce, according to colleagues.