Ginger Root December 3, 2019

Blog 3: Flexibility and Retention in General practice

Dr Sonali Kinra is a GP Partner at Hucknall Road Medical Centre, Nottingham and our ICS lead for GP Retention.

This is the third of her monthly blog series where she focuses on improving recruitment, retention and joy within General Practice.

This is the third in my monthly blog series as GP Retention lead for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICS.   It gives me an opportunity to reflect on my activities over the past month and to lay out in front of you the developments around recruitment and retention in our area.

I had my appraisal this month which I do find an enjoyable experience (no sarcasm intended). There is a useful myth-busters document on appraisal and revalidation on the RCGP website and this helpful Podcast by Dr Gandhi and Dr Zoe Norris who discuss all things tools for appraisal – for those of you who have just finished training it’s well worth a listen.

On one Friday afternoon after finishing my surgery, I listened to this King’s Fund podcast – Tackling burnout – a personal and national global crisis; you can watch this on demand. Just register with your email address here. Studies show outcomes for patients are closely linked to staff wellbeing – compassion is not a sign of weakness. When we are compassionate we connect. Don’t underestimate the importance of your coffee breaks and eating lunch together.

This month Nottinghamshire LMC also hosted its 2nd GP and Consultant networking event and I had the opportunity to open the event. If you are like me, I didn’t train in Nottingham, so for me this is the only platform which allows me to put faces to names of those working in primary and secondary care. We are working on improving discharge summaries and also raising awareness of the contractual obligations of the hospital. I am acutely aware (and rightly reminded by my GP colleagues) that one of the ways GP Retention will improve is if we work more collaboratively and reduce the   inappropriate shift of work to primary care. Going forward we will hold 2 events each year with all 3 hospitals in our system. If you wish to get involved then make contact with Phoenix programme.

I also attended the People and Culture Subgroup Board which brings together the chairs of various subgroups such as the primary care workforce group (me), medical cabinet, AHP, nursing and midwifery cabinet, HR & OD and the learning & development partnership. This was to review the subgroups of the Board to ensure we are aligned to delivery of the ICS, Long Term Plan and People Plan objectives and also discussion on governance arrangements.

We had the Primary Care Workforce Group meeting on 21 November . This is an opportunity to get monthly update from the Phoenix Programme and training hubs and we also received update on primary care networks (PCNs). The social prescribers are all in post now and going through their induction process and also getting around to meet with the practices. Ask your practice manager who is social prescriber linked to the practice – it will be good to get to know them early on. Do you know which PCN you work in? See here information on aims and priorities and demographics of different PCN as well as Clinical Directors.

We were also able to confirm that the Phoenix Programme has now received funding towards special interest/fellowship opportunities for midcareer GPs so please get in touch to find out more at They are also looking to talk to GPs who have been working in General Practice for at least 20 years and maybe considering reducing sessions/retiring. We wish to support you during your transition and also want to learn from your experience and wisdom for our current and future generations of GPs.

There are also opportunities offered by alliance of training hubs for multi-professional training and development contact them via

Following this I attended an event on Gender and Ethnicity pay gap organised by Dr Jas Atwal @jasjitkauratwal – a GP who has recently started working in my surgery. There is a 33% pay gap between men and women working in General Practice – something I was completely oblivious to. For those interested to find out more, Jas has written 3 very useful blogs here. There’s a lot more to come in the months ahead on this.

The next day, we both gave a short introduction on the same topic to GP trainers in Birmingham and Solihull – @SabenaJ is the outgoing Associate Dean. The conference was looking at differential attainment and celebrating differences which made me ponder on the support that is there for international medical graduates (IMG). In a recent GMC report it was noted there were more IMGS that joined the register compared to UK graduates but also a large number of IMGs under 55 were leaving. It’s an area we wish to develop a better understanding and if you are interested in working with us drop me an email.

Some of you may remember that in my last blog I mentioned about Nottinghamshire women’s network. We were successful in having our first meet up and have the second one planned for 5pm 30 January 2020 (venue tbc – likely Belfry Hotel). We discussed common challenges and barriers to career progression and flexible work solutions for all irrespective of gender and also how we can empower and engage women to take on leadership roles. If you wish to be involved then get in touch with me.

I am hoping that all the sessional workforce get information about local PLTs – all the slides are available on Teamnet (you can register here). They also hold webinars and the next one is on Adult Safeguarding on 4 December 2019 – Register in advance for this webinar:  Click here  

We had the 4th in our 5 event series of Next Generation GP event – Claire Marie Thomas @drclairemarie held a workshop on the story of self and also gave us useful links on how to build your story of self, which you can find here.

Dr Carolyn Wilkins @CWilkinsOldham was asked what advice she would give to her younger self and her response will resonate with many of us:

  • Be yourself
  • Don’t be in a rush – your life is a marathon
  • Find joy every day

Many of you will be putting up the Christmas tree this week – spare a thought for those who have lost loved ones. As a practice we have decided to donate towards Anthony Nolan Trust instead of cards. Anthony Nolan is the charity that makes lifesaving connections between people with blood cancer and incredible strangers ready to donate their stem cells visit the website here.

Until next time,