A Network
Ginger Root December 11, 2019

Blog 1: Making Connections

My name is James Waldron and I’m a GP in Nottingham.   I came here from Southampton for University and have loved it so much I’ve never left! Improving the experience for First 5s in the region is at the core of the things I do each week.

In addition to this ICS work, I am the RCGP First 5 Co-Lead for Vale of Trent, deliver training and teaching to First 5s and other primary care professionals through the Training Hub and Phoenix Programme, sit on the Nottingham MedChi committee and the Next Generation GP East Midlands Committee.

I’m also an avid guitarist, open mic’er, violinist, am dram’er and board gamer!

Welcome to the first of what will be several blogs about my experience and work as the First 5 workforce recruitment and retention lead for Nottinghamshire.

Today’s blog looks into the connections and collaborations that I have made over the last couple of months, including my first forays into the world of the CCG, the fantastic First 5 Leaders event, the National First 5 Committee meeting at the college as well looking forward to the East Midlands First 5 Conference in the new year!

I would like to title this month’s blog “Making Connections” as this has been at the centre of my discovery of all that it means to be a First 5 GP and has been the route to the successes and insights I have had over the first 2 months of this role.

The first connections made have been those that sit between myself and the CCG. Up until now, as a locum and then salaried/fellowship GP my interaction with the CCG/ICS has been quite limited.   The system has often felt confusing and complex and the mysticism surrounding why decisions are made and how they are made are starting to become clear.   I feel that this improvement in tangibility helps me to see where projects can be initiated and carried through.   This will be a topic for further blog as the complexities are quite real however, as I now discover, not impenetrable!

Other connections that have become apparent to me are that between different groups of First 5s.   I understand the term “First 5” was initially coined by the RCGP as a way to identify and bring together GPs in the early stages of the career to help provide support, nurturing and guidance as they enter the often quite daunting world of independent practice.   There are groups run by volunteers all round the country and the dedicated members arrange CPD, support, events and many other things in different areas and the First 5 community in Nottingham is thriving with monthly CPD events and a range of free events such as the upcoming second East Midlands First 5 Primary Care Conference on 11th Feb 2020.   This is being co-hosted between the Vale of Trent and the Leicester First 5 leads and together we have tried to use our experience and connections to bring together a programme tackling some of the most common issues facing first 5s.

The local collaboration for the conference has been really helpful in connecting up the dots locally but more and more I feel that I am part of a national First 5 Network which is making great strides in promoting young GPs and really forming a support and development system that really meets modern day demands.

Firstly, a trip down to the Royal college saw the RCGP leads from all over the country sit and discuss the differences and difficulties faced across the country. It is surprising to me   to see the differences between the regions and what is being offered locally, and I’m proud to say that in Nottingham we appear to be strides ahead of some other places with support for career development, fellowships, CPD and many other things (and certainly the topic of another blog!) but there is more that we can do especially in collaboration with other areas.

There are so many projects going on at present and I would like to end today’s blog with the massive success of the first – First 5 Leaders Event! This was an full day looking at harnessing the enthusiasm and creativity of the First 5s from far and wide but had been arranged by the GP Recruitment and Retention in the Midlands NHSI team.

A brief look at the word cloud below will show just how far afield people came from to share their ideas, and after over 6 hours of “human design” 9 innovative projects were created, developed and pitched and will be taken forward to see what impact they can bring in our health service! This wouldn’t have been possible without the inputs from different CCGs Leads including Nottinghamshire, Black Country, Birmingham, Bedford and Northampton!

I see these collaborative events as crucial to the work of the CCGs across the country. Not only did this bring together First 5s from many different places, but it gave the leads a chance to meet and exchange ideas and has resulted in the reformation of a “First 5 Leads Network”, where we can share our successes and knowledge between us.     We have so much experience and enthusiasm to give that harnessing it all together, who knows what else we can achieve!

A Packed Ophthalmology
The backgrounds and origins of the First 5 Leader event attendees