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Getting pathfinders off to a flying start


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Friday, 14 January 2011

Getting pathfinders off to a flying start

Yesterday a group led by KPMG announced a programme of support for leadership and organisational development for the eight first-wave pathfinders in London.

The KPMG Partnership for Commissioning brings together experts in organisational development and primary care to help the early pathfinders to develop the individual, team and organisational capabilities they will need to confront the challenges of becoming GP commissioners.

According to the government’s timetable, all the consortia will need to be formed by the end of March 2012 and authorised by the following year. The rate of development of the first wave will be crucial to what comes next.

The NHS London initiative will provide an intensive progamme of support for the first eight pathfinders. Products of the programme will include learning materials and tools which the SHA will be able to share with subsequent waves of consortia. Less tangible but equally important, the first wave should provide a valuable source of experience and soft intelligence to tap into for consortia behind them on the development curve.

The programme is a real test of collaboration – both for the members of the KPMG-led partnership and for the pathfinders themselves.

We are delighted that NHS Networks is to be used as the platform for the online learning network that will keep the partnership in touch with the pathfinders and pathfinders in touch with each other.

In the spirit of networking we hope that as the programme unfolds the benefits of the London programme will be shared more widely.

Meanwhile, as NHS Networks approaches the first anniversary of the launch of the new Web 2.0 hub, it seems an appropriate time to take stock of the resources available to commissioners in London and beyond – the networks themselves. We can’t take credit for these, of course. We just provide the pipework and the back-office support.   

One exception, the Commissioning Zone, is an NHS Networks initiative developed with support from the DH. It was the result of research that showed that commissioners trawl a frightening number of websites in search of information. We counted 150 before we got bored.

The Commissioning Zone is a portal, a way to signpost some of the best resources available on the web. Use it to search for particular information or to set up email alerts to let you know when new resources have been listed.

In the Recommended Sites section of the Commissioning Zone we highlight some of the NHS’s better kept secrets, including NHS Library Services and the regional quality observatories.

Typing “commissioning” into the Network Finder brings up 24 other networks formed either to represent a region, like the East Midlands PBC Networks, an area of special interest (Commissioning for Long Term Conditions) or some combination of the two (South Central Respiratory Programme).

There are also general-purpose resources such as the Health Investment Network, which is a well-organised collection of commissioning tools and guides.

As the site enters its second year, we will continue to improve the user interface and features in light of your feedback. We will also continue to address the design challenge of how to share useful resources as widely as possible and the cultural one of how to persuade users to help us make NHS Networks sustainable by becoming the creators and managers of content, administrators of networks and facilitators of conversations.

As for the London pathfinders’ support programme, if the optimism and enthusiasm at the launch event on Wednesday evening are sustained, it should get off to a flying start.