This month, we’ve had the chance to sit down with Dr Jill Langridge, who has taken over from Dr Nicole Atkinson as the Clinical Lead for South Nottinghamshire Place Based Partnership.
Jill, who officially took up her new position on 13 March, has been working across the Nottingham and South Nottinghamshire health and care system since 1995, when she joined the Keyworth GP practice (now Village Health Group) having completed the Nottingham GP Vocational Training Scheme. Her ties to Nottingham and Nottinghamshire go back even further than that, having qualified as a doctor from Nottingham University in 1989.
As well as her GP work, she has also been one of a group of clinical advisors for the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group/Integrated Care Board Clinical Design Authority (CDA).
Asked what life was like for GPs currently, she was very honest in her assessment: “It’s very challenging at the moment, and that’s the same for many of our clinical and non-clinical colleagues across the whole health and care system. These challenges are what has drawn me to this role – obviously a key focus is on improving services for patients and carers, but I also want to improve the way we work together, to relieve some of the pressures on the system as a whole.”
Jill lives locally in South Nottinghamshire and says she feels very much part of the fabric of Nottingham and South Nottinghamshire: “I love the area. There are some fantastic local facilities and green spaces, and it was a great place to bring up my two children, who have now grown up and flown the nest!”
Asked what had interested her in taking up this role, Jill explained: “I’ve already had quite a lot of involvement in what you would describe as cross-system working within the CCG and ICB for several years already, most recently supporting the ‘Tomorrow’s NUH’ programme and the ICB planned care team with a focus on women’s health. Before that I worked with CCG and provider colleagues to set up and run the Rushcliffe Community Gynaecology Service pilot, which was a forerunner to the Greater Nottingham Gynaecology Service.
“I also worked on the Health Care of Older People (HCOP) in-reach pilot into NUH, which was part of the Rushcliffe vanguard. This involved working with clinicians, ward staff, and community staff to facilitate earlier discharges for patients.
“When we became officially an Integrated Care System, I had really high hopes that there would be lots of opportunities to work collaboratively together across all our organisations. We could stop siloed working, we could do things once and avoid duplication, and we could put patients and citizens at the centre of everything we do.
“When this position came up, it felt like a real opportunity to work together with partner organisations to be able to change things, and to make those changes in reasonable timescales. Having reduced my primary care commitments, I have had time to think about the wider world of health and care, and all the different organisations that really are important in shaping people’s health and wellbeing, far wider than the narrow lens of primary and secondary care. I feel I have lots of energy to bring to the South Notts Place Based Partnership and that I can help to make a difference.”
And what does she see as the benefits of more integrated care? “My experience on the Rushcliffe vanguard project and ‘Tomorrow’s NUH’ programme has been fantastic in terms of understanding the benefits and the challenges of working across organisations. I have also gained invaluable insights into what meaningful engagement with our citizens and communities looks like, and the importance of working together to overcome barriers to engagement.
“One of the challenges I see for us in South Nottinghamshire is the huge variation we have in the demographics of our population, which includes some very deprived communities. In addition, we are very spread out geographically. So, whilst we need to work together to develop a clear identity and role for our South Notts Place based Partnership, we need to understand and respond to the unique challenges within the individual communities that make up South Notts
South Nottinghamshire has always been a hotbed of innovation, with partnership working consistently strong across Rushcliffe, Gedling, Ashfield and Broxtowe, and Jill already feels very positive the South Notts Place-based work She says: “My first impressions coming into the PBP have been really, really positive. There appear to be some great relationships and some real ‘can-do’ attitudes in both the core team and the wider partnership.
“Obviously there’s lots to do, but it feels like people are pulling in the same direction. There’s a sense that everyone really does want to work in partnership and to make a success of what we are doing together.
“I think it’s really refreshing having those different perspectives from our partner organisations. They bring with them new ideas and a lot of richness to the conversations which I think is fantastic. I’ve also had positive conversations with the other PBP clinical leads, which is really encouraging.
Underpinning everything should be a culture of building relationships and problem-solving together, to make things better for our citizens and our communities. I think it’s important to not get completely bogged down in governance and organisational barriers – let’s just make things happen if we can practically. Obviously, governance can’t just go out of the window, but it’s about finding that balance.”
Asked about her ambitions for the partnership, Jill was cautious about getting too far ahead of herself: “I have plenty of ideas for the future, but I think I need to take a little time to embed myself into the role – I haven’t even met everybody yet, and I don’t think you can just come in and start throwing all your ideas around before you even know who you’re working with, what they think and what their challenges are.
“So that’s one of the key aims for my first few months – to get round and see as many people as I can. I want to set time aside to go and visit our various South Notts communities and partner organisations, and to gain insight into the opportunities they see and the challenges they face.
When she’s not working, she’s a keen photographer, saying: “I love colour and finding beauty in even simple things and photography is a great way to capture that. I’m very much an amateur, but it’s on my list to do a proper photography course when I finally retire. I also make sure I look after my own health and wellbeing – spending time with friends and family, keeping fit, and being outdoors. I also love new challenges….my latest being an abseil down QMC ”