Ruli Pennington has been senior healthcare writer at Healthcare Innovation Monitor since 2013. She is an occasional contributor to Information Daily and Public Sector Digital. She is passionate about better public services and women's football.


Ockham Healthcare launches a programme of practical support for general practice

Ockham Healthcare, the healthcare think tank that thinks nothing of acting as well as thinking, has launched Practical Steps, a programme designed to support individual general practices tackle the problems of today as well as prepare for the future.

The Practical Steps programme focuses on the big challenges that individual practices are facing today: dealing with the increase in on-the-day demand; recruitment; operating at scale; and building and managing collaborative partnerships

Around forty percent of practices have joined federations or at least begun the process of forming consortia. Many, however, are not yet finding that this is a solution to the problems that they are facing. 

“There are no blue prints,” says programme director Ben Gowland. “It is of no help to individual practices to simply state that operating at scale is the answer.  Practices require support to tackle the key issues of growing on the day demand and the crisis in recruitment.  Operating at scale is one avenue that can help, but it is not a magic bullet, and it needs to be done in a way that prioritises the needs of the member practices.”

The remaining 60% of practices that are not in any form of federation or group of practices are currently tackling the challenges facing general practice on their own.  “There is a pressing need for some kind of support programme” says Dr. Tom Evans, clinical lead for the Practical Steps programme.

“It is essential that practices find the headroom to think through, develop and meet the inescapable challenges that primary care is facing. Change, some of it radical, is key for the future of each individual practice, and for the entire system.”

The programme is designed with discrete offerings for individual practices, existing federations and consortia and CCGs.

“Practices need support, individually and in their existing collaborative groups,” says Gowland. “But because they are not part of a formal NHS family they tend not to receive it. In the last couple of years of my time as a CCG Chief Executive I was constantly on the look out for cost effective, bespoke, practical help packages to our group of GPs. It was in the CCG’s interest to help practices resolve their current problems, and to support them in preparing for a future that looks very different to the existing picture. But that support simply wasn’t out there.” 

For more information on the Practical Steps programme or to request a prospectus please contact Joe Tibbetts E: or T: 0121 643 9802


Ockham Healthcare is an independent, change enabler working with early adopters and change leaders within a range of healthcare organisations. Part think tank, part consultancy and wholly focused on helping healthcare professionals develop and deliver change programmes, Ockham is unique in its approach to innovation, integration and leveraging the potential of digital communications to sustain and further develop a health service that remains free to all at the point of need.
Ockham specialises in research and data acquisition and analysis that enable it to make recommendations at a grass roots and a national level.  Ockham is committed to sharing learning and building independent, free to access, on-line resources that can help solve problems at a national level.  Ockham associates are expert in managing on the day demand, solving the GP recruitment connundrum, preparing for growth and collaboration to build the new professional networks.



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