Whilst this communication is particularly relevant to the “ non- aligned” practices detailed above, (unfortunately the LMC does not as yet have an accurate database of these practices, bearing in mind the rapidly evolving Birmingham GP practice provider landscape). It is nevertheless of importance to all Birmingham practices.
You will be aware of the latest re-organisation of NHS management and commissioning in the city and beyond, both with the creation of “Sustainability and Transformation Plans” (STPs) and with the planned “functional “ merger of CCGs which, I am led to believe, may yet end up as a formal merger. You will also know of the complexity of our position in Birmingham with the SWB CCG practices being incorporated into the Black Country –wide STP “ footprint” whilst BXC and BSC CCGs, as well as (” functionally”) merging with Solihull CCG are part of the separate Birmingham and Solihull STP.
These massive changes will, needless to say, have huge impact for general practice in the city. Whilst no-one doubts the need for transformation within the NHS, the attempt will be to deliver this in the context of, as we all know, general practice being in the throes of a crisis threatening the sustainability and indeed very viability of most practices. It is crucial therefore that any plans coming out of the STP process do not allow the transformation tail to wag the sustainability dog. The significant engagement of Birmingham’ s GP practices as providers, and the LMC as their statutorily –recognised representative and advisory body is crucial both to the success of the STP programmes and to ensure the sustainability, viability and indeed survival of general practice whilst allowing it to develop and flourish through the changes that will inevitably come.
In regards to the Black Country STP, I am aware that the Birmingham practices form only a small minority of the Black Country -wide STP. It is therefore crucial that their voices, and the voice of Birmingham LMC in representing them, are not lost. Happily the Black Country STP system leader is Andy Williams, Accountable Officer of SWB CCG. I have already contacted Andy in order to ensure that Birmingham LMC engages with Black Country STP processes affecting SWB’s Birmingham practices and Andy has committed to exploring how that might best be taken forward.
In respect of GP engagement with the Birmingham and Solihull STP the various large provider organisations listed above have already been proactive. A “GP provider alliance” has been set up with representatives of all these organisations, and the LMC is an active member of this group. This alliance is going to be the formal conduit for representation, engagement and liaison of GPs as providers with the Birmingham and Solihull STP process.
Whilst the LMC of course represents all Birmingham GPs it will inevitably have a particular remit on this group to represent those practices who are not members of one of these large provider entities and do not therefore have any other direct input to the alliance. Having said that it is recognised that, in addition to the LMC, direct representation on the alliance on behalf of these “non- aligned “ practices might be useful. A small group of such practices has already convened a meeting , facilitated by Dr Olav Van Loon from Hawthorn’s surgery in Sutton Coldfield. It is clear however that those who met did not constitute a comprehensive group of these practices, and the LMC is happy to assist in ensuring that this group is as complete as possible in respect of “non- aligned practice” membership.
Olav is being copied into this email and would be happy for representatives of non-aligned practices who would wish to be part of the group to contact him in order to become engaged in the process. I would urge you to do so. In the meantime Olav will attend the GP provider alliance meetings on behalf of those who are members of the group, and, it goes without saying, the LMC will continue to represent, support and advise all practices on the STP processes and, of course, on any other issue.
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