I couldn't possibly start without mentioning the recent changes in the leadership of our country. Of course, we are all very familiar with Gordon Brown, Chancellor within Tony Blair's government. I hope that, while he has been waiting in the wings, he has recognised the difficulties the pace of change has presented for primary care since the NHS Plan was uncovered in 1998.
Hopefully he will reflect on that, allow us a period of stability, and appreciate that, while many good things have come out of the last 10 years of NHS reform, there are equally many not-so-good things that could do with sifting out. I am sure the formal review of the NHS announced in the press recently will allow us that period of bedding down that we need so much.
MiP is now online!
Talking of fresh announcements, our new website – www.ManagementInPractice.com – launched in June. As well as all previous articles from the magazine, it also contains daily news stories and features, and gives you the opportunity to comment on current topics. Some of your reactions to new Health Secretary Alan Johnson's announcement of the NHS review appear somewhat cynical, yet I'm sure they reflect the thoughts of many GPs and practice managers, in that "we have been there before and you didn't really listen – so why should this review be any different?"
I can certainly understand the cynicism, although I sincerely hope this view proves wrong. Let's at least look on the bright side: if nothing else, we get a bit of breathing space while the review is being undertaken! I was advised last week that the 18-week target will be the last of the national directives, for now at least, which gave me a little bit of hope.
Say hello, wave goodbye
Politics aside, there have also been some changes in the Management in Practice team. Lorna McMillan, a member of our editorial board and author of one of our first articles, is to resign from practice management in September, as she is in the enviable position of retiring to France! We wish her well and thank her for her contribution to the magazine over the past two years.
New to the board is a familiar face to Management in Practice Event goers: Wendy Garcarz. Wendy has been the main chair at our two MiP conferences to date, in Birmingham and Manchester. She will also be chairing at the forthcoming Event in London on 5 September.
Wendy has a wealth of experience relating to the NHS, having enjoyed a series of posts working for what are now the old health authorities. She is now self-employed and continues to work with NHS and practice staff to promote education and professional development. It gives me great pleasure to welcome Wendy to the board – I am sure she will be an asset to the team.
But back to the issue at hand, which features another strong selection of articles relating to current topics. I particularly like Natalie Goldsmid-Whyte's article addressing continuing professional development (CPD).
As managers, it's part of our job descriptions to promote CPD to our staff, which I am sure we all do (certainly I do very proactively), but what about our own development? As Natalie confirms, this is sadly something that continually seems to be placed at the bottom of the pile.
Finally, I'd just like to draw your attention to the weekly "blog" feature on the new Management in Practice website (see www.managementinpractice.com/personalpractice), which pulls together the thoughts of our resident practice manager – I am sure we can all relate to her experiences.
The site provides a more direct opportunity for practice managers to get involved in debates – there are many opportunities as you click through the site. So come on, join in and get your voice heard!