Could you explain your role in education with Somerset LMC/CEPN?
I am employed to work 24 hours per week by the Somerset Training Hub as an Education Facilitator. My post is funded by Health Education England and my primary role is to work in partnership with other organisations to increase placement capacity and quality of the learning environment for non-medical students and trainees in primary and community care settings.
This includes learners undertaking studies, apprenticeships, and work-based training. I liaise closely with Health Education England, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and local colleges, and provide support to GP practices, contribute to discussions around workforce planning and
development in Primary Care in Somerset.
What made you get into general practice when you first started?
Having trained as a Diagnostic Radiographer I spent 23 years working in the NHS in a large acute Trust. I progressed through my career undertaking management and clinical training, qualifying as an Advanced Practitioner and eventually became the Diagnostic Imaging Manager with responsibility for the whole Radiology and Imaging Service. Having made significant changes to improve the service we delivered to patients, I was appointed as a National Service Improvement Lead for Diagnostics and worked for 2 years improving services for cancer patients. I then took the decision to move into Primary Care to use my knowledge and management experience in a different field and to work locally again so became the Practice Business Manager of a training GP Practice.
After seven years in the practice I moved to work for Devon Local Medical Committee (LMC) supporting General Practices in Devon before returning to work for the Somerset Community Education Provider Network (SCEPN) now the Somerset Training Hub in a supporting primary care education role.
What changes within general practice have been the most significant to you?
The most significant change for me has been the difficulty recruiting and retaining GPs and Practice Nurses and the pressure this has put on practices and individuals. The result has been a gradual change to the workforce within General Practice which is very different to when I managed a practice. We now see pharmacists, paramedics, health coaches, physiotherapists and many other practitioners and support roles in the GP surgery. This is a positive outcome as it has provided many opportunities for the development of staff to gain new skills and move into new roles in primary care and there is more scope for career development and fulfilment.
Why is primary care education so important?
With more services being delivered in Primary care, the workforce is vital to delivering safe, high quality, effective and appropriate care for patients and their families. Having the right number of staff with the right skills and behaviours to deliver the right care to patients at the right time is the only way to deliver safe effective care to patients. Education and training are fundamental to the development of the workforce and to recruiting and retaining staff. It is also important for career development, personal achievement, job satisfaction and fulfilment.
What do you like about living and working in Somerset?
I have lived in Somerset for most of my life, having family here and I enjoy the rural nature of where I live. We have excellent road and rail links to the West and East, to Wales and the North and easy access to local airports. I love that you can drive to watch the beautiful sunrise over Charmouth beach or the amazing sunset at Woolacombe in just over an hour. I enjoy walking on the Quantocks, driving over Exmoor and Devon and Cornwall are on our doorstep. I can be in London in less than 2 hours for work or to see a show. It is a peaceful enjoyable place to live and work and to enjoy a healthy work life balance.