Practical Steps

What is the Practical Steps Programme?

Practical Steps is a development programme specifically designed for GP practices that need help.  It helps individual GP practices both tackle the problems they face today and prepare to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Many GP practices are experiencing significant pressure at present.  Pressure on finances, workload, waiting times and recruitment is common, and some practices are experiencing pressure in all of these areas and more.  Even bigger challenges are on the horizon as workload continues to rise and pressure on income increases.  As a result, many practices are having to think about how they need to change in order to be able to continue to provide excellent care for their patients.

The Practical Steps Programme provides a simple, step-by-step approach to help you make these changes in your practice.  Every practice is different.  The challenges each practice experiences, the people involved, their relationships, and what is important to each practice all vary.  Each practice is, in its own way, unique.  This means the idea that there can be prescribed actions that each practice has to take is wrong.  Federating with other practices may or may not be right for a practice.  Employing pharmacists may or may not be right for a practice.  It always depends on the challenges, the unique situation and the priorities of each practice.

The Practical Steps approach enables your practice to identify the changes that will have the biggest impact on the problems you are experiencing and helps you to successfully implement them.  It is not a theoretical exercise.  It is about taking action, about making significant change, and about creating a new future for your practice.

How Does the Programme Work?

We use an 8 step approach based on academic best practice to make the process of change in your practice successful.  This means that we not only help you find the changes that are right for you, but we also make sure that they are successfully implemented.

The programme starts by ensuring that there is a very clear understanding of the problems your practice faces, and that the urgency of your situation is shared by everyone in the practice.  It does not start with ready-made solutions.  Rather it identifies tailored solutions that are right for your practice, and builds ownership and support for these changes across your practice.  The programme helps you with the whole process of change right through to successful implementation, and making the new ways of working part of your practice culture.

We recognise the serious time pressure that you are under, and so we maximise the time you invest in the programme by making as much of the content virtual and online as possible.  We have a range of case studies, tools, checklists and other materials specifically designed to make the changes in your practice successful, including guides on:

  • managing on-the-day demand
  • resolving problems with recruitment
  • accessing the benefits of operating at scale
  • establishing supportive relationships across local health and social care communities

We provide as much hands on support as you need, in particular with some of the more difficult areas such as identifying as a practice which areas you are prepared to compromise on and which you are not, and gaining agreement for change across all the partners.

The process of change is always difficult, but the rewards are great.  GPs who have made the changes needed talk about how it has not only transformed their lives, but also transformed the services that they are able to offer their patients.  The Practical Steps programme will help this become your reality.

How has the programme been developed?

Practical Steps has been developed as a result of expertise and best practice in three areas:

Experience of change within general practice.  The content of the programme has been developed from an extensive range of case studies of GP practices that have successfully tackled the problems that they faced, and identifies the transferable learning for others to use

Academic best practice.  The approach to making change is based on the work of Harvard Professor John Kotter, a world class authority on change and how to make change happen

Personal expertise in making change in the NHS. The delivery of the programme is undertaken by individuals with a track record not only of working with general practice but of making change across different sectors of the NHS

Who is the programme for?

The programme is for individual GP practices that are struggling and want support.  It provides a structured approach for individual practices to both be able to tackle the problems that they are facing today and to prepare for the challenges ahead.

The programme is also for CCGs who are seeking to provide support for their member practices, but do not have an in-house programme in place.  The Practical Steps programme can be tailored to meet the specific needs of any individual CCG.

“I am incredibly excited that you have come to the practice with a wealth of experience and an immediate understanding of our current situation.  I am confident that you can take all the individuals in the practice, some who have strong personalities and make us into a cohesive team with a shared vision for the future” (Maura Preece, Haywards Heath, April 2016)

How Can I Find Out More?

For a more detailed discussion about the programme, and to understand better whether the programme is right for you, please contact Ben Gowland