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‘There is nothing so practical as a good theory’


Blog headlines

  • Reading Well for young people consultation
    14 October 2021

    The blog this week is from Reading Well. They support people to understand and manage their health and wellbeing using helpful reading.

  • Special school eye care service
    7 October 2021

    This week we are sharing an article on improving eyecare services for children and young people with learning disabilities and/or autism who are 28 times more likely to have a sight problem. This piece explores how a service has been developed to improve outcomes for these children.

  • Using P-D-S-A, patients can take control of their own health & wellbeing trajectories
    30 September 2021

    This week we are sharing how patients in partnership with the NHS can self-manage long term conditions. Improvement science methodology has enabled Julian Simcox, a patient leader in North Somerset to develop a personalised care approach to support him to manage his long term conditions.

  • Chronic Low Back Pain Phase I (FIH) Clinical Trial at NHS sites
    23 September 2021

    For networks this week we are sharing information about a clinical trial at NHS sites, the first part of the trial has just been completed – at two NHS sites during the pandemic.

  • ‘There is nothing so practical as a good theory’
    16 September 2021

    The Networks blog this week comes from the Staff College: Leadership in Healthcare (Staff College) is a national charity dedicated to promoting great leadership for the public good.

  • Reflections on a ‘new’ NHS and its impact on general practice
    10 September 2021

    This week’s blog we are sharing reflections by William Greenwood on the direction for the health service and potential impact on general practice.

  • When facilitation could turn into mediation
    3 September 2021

    Requests to attend a meeting, to help find a way forward, to help with planning, to redesign a care pathway, and numerous other reasons are not always what they seem. Sometimes you will be asked to facilitate, or just asked to attend. What then happens in the room may not be the meeting that you are expecting. Other situations, such as tensions between practices, departments or teams may give a more obvious sign that what is needed goes beyond just attending or facilitating a little.

  • Population Health Management?
    26 August 2021

    One of the frequently heard phrases of the moment is population health management – but what is it and does it work. The blog is from a longer article by Monica Duncan exploring the topic.

  • The future must be primary care
    19 August 2021

    The blog this week is by Professor David Colin-Thomé, chair of PCC.

  • Preparing for winter 2021/22
    13 August 2021

    One of the hottest days of the year saw people from practices, primary care networks (PCNs) and federations gather to start to think creatively about managing their winter pressures in this session hosted by PCC and the NHS Confederation PCN Network.

  • Building the collaboration
    5 August 2021

    Prior to COVID-19 primary care network (PCN) community pharmacy leads (representing a group of pharmacy contractors in their locality) were starting to contact the clinical director for their allocated PCN to discuss how pharmacy services could develop and adapt to help address community health needs.

  • Audit into action… with a pandemic thrown into the mix!
    29 July 2021

    A blog from the Clinical Leads for the National Audit of Care at the End of Life (NACEL).

  • GP partnership uses new video to highlight benefits of its merger-led transformation
    23 July 2021

    An East Cheshire-based GP practice, the Middlewood Partnership, which formally merged in order to successfully transform its clinical and business models, is sharing insights, via a new video, with colleagues across the health and social care sector.

  • Early evaluation of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Trailblazer
    15 July 2021

    The Birmingham, RAND and Cambridge Evaluation Centre (BRACE) is funded by the National Institute for Health Research to conduct rapid evaluation of promising new services and innovations in health and social care. The BRACE Rapid Evaluation Centre and Policy Innovation and Evaluation Research Unit have published findings from the early evaluation of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Trailblazer programme.

  • Learn from reflection
    8 July 2021

    We are sharing an article by Helen Northall, chief executive, PCC this week on learning from reflection.

  • Link of the week: National Thank You Day
    1 July 2021

    This week we are featuring National Thank You Day.

  • North East Essex integrated discharge single point of access - implementing the Coronavirus Act 2020 and Covid-19 hospital discharge service requirements
    24 June 2021

    The blog this week is from Frank Sims, chief executive of Anglian Community Enterprise and shares learning on collaboration and redesign to support hospital discharge.

  • Helping your patients making an informed choice: Medical or Surgical abortion?
    17 June 2021

    This week the blog has been submitted by MSI Reproductive Choices UK and is about supporting patients to make an informed choice based on NICE guidance.

  • The potential for case finding patients with cardiovascular disease in a dental setting
    10 June 2021

    The blog this week is by Wendy Crew, PCC adviser, considering the opportunity to case find patients with cardiovascular disease in a dental setting.

  • Using population health data to inform ARRS recruitment
    3 June 2021

    Funding for the additional role reimbursement scheme (ARRS) has increased nationally from £430m (2020-21) to £746m max. (2021-22) with an allocation available for each primary care network (PCN) depending on the size of the population it covers. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) draw down the funds but only as new roles are recruited within PCNs. PCNs are therefore being strongly encouraged to make use of their ARRS allocation to ensure people in their neighbourhoods benefit from the funding available.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

‘There is nothing so practical as a good theory’

The Networks blog this week comes from the Staff College: Leadership in Healthcare (Staff College) is a national charity dedicated to promoting great leadership for the public good.

September in my book not only signals the start of a new year, whether it be a school term, work or in life in general, but also an opportunity to wipe a clean slate, to help focus on the future and to be more open to new ideas and different perspectives. I hope that many of you have managed some recent time away from work, to have taken a break or holiday where your mind has been re-charged and found some time to recover from the demands of the last few months. However, what I also notice is that, even after a short break, I have lost some of the spontaneity and quick recall of professional concepts, theories, and facts, that are otherwise awash in my head. Hopefully this is not an issue of my age or a sign of my memory loss! It is just normal and something which, from throughout my Naval career, would soon be rectified by some “back in the saddle training”. I would not dream of returning to flying my helicopter, fighting my warship, or even writing Defence policy papers without this period of revision, catchup and supervision with my colleagues. Have you also learnt the importance of this process of relearning, of understanding how to walk before being able to run again?

The design of every Staff Course leadership intervention and development opportunity is based on an agreed set of learning principles or concepts. However, some of these assumptions get lost during the focus and maelstrom of our delivery, as we can get swallowed up by the content and forget the importance of process! For those of you who have attended any of our courses you will not be surprised by this phenomenon of content and process, how we challenge you on it, or that the Directing Staff might also be swept along by its mind traps too! I wanted to share with you some of our leadership development conceptual base, to help me revise and relearn, but also to explain how the Staff College approach, which leans heavily on the social psychology promoted by Kurt Lewin, as quoted above, is the “difference that makes a difference” to your own leadership development. The group approach of coaching, favoured by Staff College, was envisaged by Lewin in what was eventually to be called “T-Groups”. The utility and proven longevity of this approach rests on establishing an environment in which assumptions and beliefs can be dis-confirmed, through giving each other feedback, engaging both emotionally as well as objectively to evidence in the room, and by the provision of cognitive aids. These short interjections of theory, concept or models help us all frame and perceive the world around us, which in turn helps us improve our awareness.

So what? What are the key leadership concepts that you hold currently in your head? What “good theory” has helped you in your leadership and self-understanding but needs a bit of revision or dusting off? As you read this article your memory will have been sparked, recollecting perhaps the “Johari Window”, “Higher and Lower Selves”, “Wicked and Tame Problems” or some other leadership concept which you find useful. I would encourage you to do your own leadership “back in the saddle” training, form your own T-Group to challenge each other, test your own assumptions and to help focus on the processes which will be important over the next few months.

Writing this short piece has helped me in preparing for a challenging yet exciting few months ahead. I hope that reading this might help you too. Remember, “we are the architects of our own experience” , the concepts and ideas which we hold help predict the way we perceive the world in which we live. Take time to reflect on your leadership concepts and assumptions which will, in turn, determine how you will lead in the future.