Our Mission : Why We Are Here

I was told a story about a South African GP, who after 17 years working in the NHS decided the time had come for him to return home. When the removal man came to his house and found out that he was a GP he exclaimed, “Not another GP!” If removal men know that General Practice is in trouble, there can be no doubt that the situation is critical.

General Practice lies at the heart of care delivery in the NHS.  It is the first and most commonly used point of access to healthcare. Each GP practice has responsibility for its own registered population, and controls its access to the rest of the system.  It plays a pivotal role in managing the demand for NHS services, and a strong General Practice is the bedrock of a cost-effective health care system.  Without it, the NHS would be unlikely to survive in its current form.

But within the NHS very little has been done to help General Practice.  GP contracts have been made more complex, costs and bureaucracy have risen, while funding has fallen to dangerously low levels.  Insufficient doctors have been trained as GPs, and more and more GPs are choosing to retire, emigrate or simply resign.  This, alongside the inexorable rise in demand, means many GPs and practices can no longer cope.

I have worked directly with General Practice for many years.  In 2007 I set up a 60 GP practice social enterprise organisation to strengthen the role of local GP practices in local commissioning.  This organisation went on to become the basis of the Clinical Commissioning Group that I established and led as its Accountable Officer.  In 2015 I set up Ockham Healthcare to support General Practice.

I believe General Practice needs help, and that there are not enough people or organisations that truly understand General Practice well enough to provide the help it needs.  I set up Ockham Healthcare to make a difference to General Practice by supporting innovation, by identifying and encouraging the spread of best practice, and by providing direct help to those who want it.

Ockham Healthcare is supporting innovation in General Practice in a number of different ways:

  • A weekly podcast that showcases innovation and best practice in General Practice
  • A weekly blog examining the issues within General Practice
  • A TV documentary investigating the problems facing general practice at present
  • A white paper on the problems facing general practice with recommendations of actions that need to be taken
  • Delivery of direct support to GP Practices
  • Support for CCGs in their work with GP Practices locally
  • The Practical Steps programme which enables GP Practices to both tackle the problems they face today and prepare to meet the challenges of tomorrow

Ben Gowland, Founder, Ockham Healthcare

Ockham Healthcare: Supporting Innovation in General Practice