My hands are up: our practice is a high referrer and this cannot carry on. This is the PCT's verdict and I guess, despite the perhaps aggressive posturing and implications of this discovery, we need to take heed.
So, I volunteered with another of the partners to trawl through February's referrals, recording rates of referrals to the different specialties and rates of referrals per GP. There were some interesting findings. We also looked as far as our energies allowed at the reason for referral: even more interesting. We have scope to reflect – although I don't, as all my referrals are saved up for March!
We have another away day this month, I prefer to refer to it as "do-away" day, reflecting on our approach to referrals in the future. We will discuss our audit and suggest an action plan. This is where the phrase "beat the PCT before the PCT beats you" seems most applicable.
The long-running saga that is our surgery move is now in either the "dying embers" phase or "phoenix from the flames" phase, depending upon your translation. This year will be pivotal.
Our most senior partner, in the age sense, is retiring. He's been a doctor for the same time that I've been alive and a partner at our surgery for an extraordinarily long time. That sort of stamina is admirable. He hasn't left yet, but it's been reassuring to be in the room next to his. With him on one side and the toilet on the other, I think I've been well situated.
The other change will most likely be the direction of healthcare provision after May, following the general election. I can't see healthcare continuing as it is now; it's frightening to consider some of the challenges we face to retain services we have all grown accustomed to provide. We all need to innovate – perhaps there's a role for developing specialist counselling services to struggling multimillionaire professional footballers?