Welcome to the Summer 2009 issue of Management in Practice. As usual, we have an issue full of great articles. However, before I move on to discuss them I would like to convey some very sad news on behalf of the MiP team.
It is with great regret that I announce the untimely death of Elizabeth Yareham, Head of Events. Elizabeth was responsible for organising the many Management in Practice Events that have been enjoyed over the last three years. Not only that, but she also worked extremely hard to get the MiP Awards programme established. This will be Elizabeth's legacy, as she worked tirelessly and passionately to get it off the ground.
Elizabeth was a very bubbly and charismatic lady, whose presence will be greatly missed by all. I particularly wanted to pay tribute to Elizabeth because, although I had only met her a few times, you could not fail to be inspired and impressed by her enthusiasm and drive.
The awards this year will therefore feel especially significant, and the entries are now starting to roll in. However, in order to provide as much opportunity as possible the final date for applications will extend slightly to 12 June, which gives you plenty of time to put your application together. This doesn't need to be an essay; just a short outline of why you think your team should be considered as winners. A reminder of the categories, for those still teetering: Business Management, Design and Facilities, Customer Care, IM&T, Training and HR, and of course Practice of the Year.
The awards will be presented at the Management in Practice Event in Birmingham on 6 October, but if you can't wait until then to get your MiP conference fix and take a much-earned day away from the surgery, then you are of course more than welcome at the other forthcoming events – in Manchester, on 9 June at the Bridgewater Hall, and in London, at the Business Design Centre on 2 September.
The MiP Award winners will have the opportunity to showcase their practice by invitation to present a case study at a Management in Practice Event of their choice in 2010.
As I mentioned earlier, this issue is packed with thought-provoking articles. I particularly like the two pieces on practice-based commissioning (PBC). Julie Wood suggests that managers and clinicians should give PBC some air time and furthermore embrace it, ensuring your PCT does the same. I am actually one of those managers who has embraced it, as I have also been PBC Manager of our cluster for the last three years or so. Yet I must confess I am also one of those managers asking, "Why should I bother?"! A difficult position to be in – but true nonetheless.
I know our primary care trust has embraced it – the management team seems to grow weekly – but what have we actually done? We have tweaked things here and there, but every time we start to see a bit of progress and achieve savings to reinvest into improving systems, the rug gets pulled from under us because, even if we have influence, we have so little control. The local hospital trust only has to increase its activity a little and – hey presto – those plans you had fly right out of the window.
In a parallel article, the King's Fund's Dr Nick Goodwin perhaps adopts a more considered approach to the concerns regarding the future of PBC. He addresses the perceived barriers to its progress and suggests that, given the reinvigoration agenda, it really is now or never for those contemplating dipping their toes in the water.
Whatever your opinion and position, both articles provide an opportunity for reflection. However, as for speculation (Nick considers how a Conservative government might adjust PBC), I think the politicians have done enough of that recently, don't you?
On that note, enjoy reading this issue of MiP – whichever of your homes you happen to be in!