NHS England has appointed Dr Karen Kirkham as national clinical advisor for primary care.
With 25 years of experience in primary care, Dr Kirkham is currently senior GP partner at the Bridges Medical Practice, Dorset, and clinical lead for maternity, family and reproductive services at Dorset Integrated Care System (ICS).
In her new role, she will work with the GP community and visit places to learn about successful innovations and transformation methods to spread them across the country.
She said: ‘I’m committed to strengthening primary care as the foundation of the NHS and I have a strong interest in integrating health and care services across the system.
‘As part of this new role I want to ensure high quality and sustainable general practice as a fundamental building block within ICS’ and develop population health analytics and management systems to provide the basis for intelligent decision making.
‘This is all about the patients. Our patients are changing and the NHS needs to adapt as well. To sustain us for the future we need to transform what we do so that we’re providing what people need.’
Dr Kirkham has been key in the creation of the Dorset Integrated Care System, which brings together local hospitals, general practice, local authorities and community staff in an integrated approach to care.
The system has been successful in reducing rates of unplanned admissions to Dorset County Hospital through a ‘virtual wards’ process that each weeek places patients considered to be at risk of hospital admission on a list accessed by doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, social care staff and others.
In 2013, Dr Kirkham became locality clinical chair for Dorset CCG and in 2015 she was appointed assistant clinical chair for the CCG.