Throughout my career people have been telling me that Partnerships and Personal General Practice were doomed. They said I couldn’t just carry on being a local GP and needed to be absorbed into a big organisation which would run things because that was more efficient. Being somewhat sceptical, we decided to carry on as we were for a while and see how things went.
And we continued to be happy most of the time, our patients knew us and were good to us and our workload was under control. Which made me wonder, what if it was better in our village to have a locally owned General Practice where we knew the patients and had the power to decide how we worked. And being locally owned we could never be forced to act against the best interests of our team or our patients.
But we also found that we had to become more flexible, trusting patients to decide if they needed to see us and giving our reception team more autonomy about how they did their jobs. Everyone needed to be thinking how they could contribute to the performance of the team and not just getting their own work done. Improving recruitment and retention made us look at what makes our work lives fulfilling and how we can achieve this within NHS General Practice.
So why call it Guerrilla General Practice? Guerrilla armies are made of small adaptable groups who run themselves and use their knowledge of local conditions to perform better than traditional armies. General Practice is ideally suited to autonomous locally owned surgeries using their unique knowledge and relationships and flexibility to achieve better, faster results with less resources. It turns out that the way we were set up in 1948, far from being old fashioned, has more in common with 21st century entrepreneur culture than large centralised organisations.