Authors: Claire Valentine, Training Manager and Vivienne Winterman, Senior Consultant
Tuesday this week saw us at another very successful and popular health SIG meeting hosted kindly for us by the BMA. The meeting, attended by over 35 delegates, was chaired by Sue Lacey-Bryant, Associate Director of GP Consortia Development/Chief Knowledge Officer, Milton Keynes PCT. Sue began by setting the scene for the evening by reflecting on key issues of the moment including: the challenges of obtaining a work/life balance from a GP's perspective - the need to work faster and more efficiently to meet the needs of commissioning, through the use of IT tools; the effects on data quality; the challenges around knowledge transfer as parts of the health sector undergo major re-organisations and the effects of this particularly on leadership development.
The line up of presenters took us through the full story of the commissioning cycle and its knowledge and information needs and how the patient experience must be at the heart of everything. It was interesting to see the contrast between Dr Anita Jolly’s (BMJ) perspective on the best practice approach and Anne Gray's (Milton Keynes PCT) in practice support. The issues lie not with following best practice, in fact it seems there is a good understanding that 'learning before doing' is the best way to start, it is about how to source the vast array of information/knowledge needed. It is also about how to take that information/knowledge and use it in the context it is needed. All too often it seems that situations are seen as so different that one common way of doing things cannot be followed. Influencing and advocacy skills are clearly top of the agenda here for information and knowledge professionals working in this area.
Sarah Panzetta, who until recently worked for Camden PCT, described a web resource developed for local GPs which would help the myriad of locums and contract workers with local knowledge of health issues and services in the area. Key challenges on this project included security - when and when not to share information on such a site, keeping the content up to date, and influencing work behaviour to involve all GPs and make the resource an integral part of their working environment.
The presentations were followed by group discussions on each table reflecting on the challenges that commissioning presented. This came up with ideas and suggestions of what is required to provide a national approach to providing the right skills, knowledge and information to support GPs. The representation of information suppliers (including charities), IT providers (including DH Informatics) and NHS library and information professionals led to lively debate, discussion and innovative ideas helped by a glass of wine or two!
The presentations and question discussion/outcomes are available on our site here for further information http://www.tfpl.com/networks_events/health_sig.cfm There are also twitter feed comments which can be found under #tfplsig