Newham Health Collaborative has just become a Community Interest Company or CIC (pronounced kick!).
Unless you are a governance enthusiast (I know our Medical Director, Dr Subir Sen is…) or just keen on company structures you probably would see this and think so what?
And in some respects you’d be right – as not much is going to change on the ground for our member practices.
But the changes to our governance will build a valuable legacy for General Practice and our resident community.
The CIC structure ensures that businesses can be conducted effectively and efficiently with a social benefit. It allows us to protect the value we create and use it for the benefit of our General Practices and our patients. A small statement but enormously powerful for our borough.
Our independence allows us to do things differently. This is hugely beneficial. Last week a 30 something man came into our vaccine service. Arslan, had a learning disability and his carers, who brought him, wanted to make sure he had his spring booster. Arslan was less keen. He walked around the service for over 30 mins. It was evident to the staff that he wasn’t impressed. But his need was there. And his mother needed him protected to support her health.
Our roving team could wait. They encouraged him with some chocolate incentives. And because they are specialists in this type of work, they knew how to approach the situation in a timely and sensitive manner. He left protected and his mother kindly wrote to us:
For NHC the move to become a CIC is a significant step forward on our journey.
NHC was established in 2019 as the voice of all the GP practices in the Borough. Discussions, led by Dr Saidur Rahmen, had seen the formation of the federation following several different groupings coming together to create the united voice of General Practice for Newham.
The first CEO, Mohit Venkataram, established the organisation and began to scope services for practices in the Borough. He stepped away from the role after 18 months having secured the establishment and initial framework of delivery, and returned to his full time position in the ELFT senior team.
Steve Gilvin, followed, and his experience as a former commissioner was invaluable to the Federation securing their CQC registration and supporting the GPs through the pandemic – one of the toughest times in the history of primary care in Newham. There were about 29 staff members at the time and they worked tirelessly to support the practices with all the services they needed to keep them safely delivering for their patients.
Today, our staff team has grown to 287 people working in our various patient services but as the story about the young man who needed to be vaccinates shows – we have retained the focus on our patients and their individual experience.
For our PCN colleagues, our support and the back office teams support them to reinforce the practices and our patient services are routinely delivering over 8, 000 additional primary care appointments every month.
Through delivering theses services, we aren’t just adding to the appointment options for patients; the resources we secure have meant NHC has been able to invest in additional support for the practices. With this investment we can reinforce our practice colleagues and to support their growth and development.
- We provide IT support through Practice Index, Clarity Teamnet and C the signs.
- We provide specialist support for CQC compliance including audits and intensive back up.
- We provide services to all the 9 PCNs, hosting over 52 staff under the ARRs scheme and supporting the finances, admin and HR needs for our PCN colleagues.
But probably, most importantly, the Federation is a strong advocate for Primary Care.
We represent the views of the GP practices into the Borough Partnership, working closely with the Primary Care Clinical lead, Dr Naqvi and the System Clinicial Lead, Dr Vaid. Our close working with the PCNs and Clinical Directors keep us focused on Health Inequality and the targeted support that the PCNs need.
As we go forward into this next phase as a CIC, I am looking forward to growing our Patient Voices and building an even stronger resource to support the GP practices in Newham. I know that our borough needs a strong primary care service that is responsive and accessible. I want to hear more stories about how our teams are enabling Newham residents to access the services they need, and to hear more from our practice leads and PCN staff about how our support has enabled them to deliver the best service to our residents.
As a Community Interest Company the NHC Board are focused on building relevant and excellent services to support primary care knowing that when we do we can invest any surplus we secure into more support for our community for the future.
It is great to know we are ‘CiC’king it.