Our vision: to transform access to medical care.

“I don’t believe it!”

I was talking to a lovely Yorkshire GP this week who knows our work and knows his own kind very well.  He told me how the GPs would listen carefully to the evidence, hear the testimonies of colleagues, nod sagely at how impressive it all was and would solve precisely the problems they face.  Finally they would explain why it couldn’t possibly work in their own practices.

“How did you know!” I gasped.  “That’s EXACTLY what happens.”

I often reflect on why, with the steady flow of “new lease of life… feeling more in control… stress has gone from 100 to 0… ” and so on, GPs find it so difficult to imagine the change for themselves.

In the NHS we are used to a 3% improvement being hailed as a major achievement.  When it’s 80%, does this sound so unreal that it therefore can’t be true?  I wonder whether it’s the Victor Meldrew grumpy old man syndrome.  There’s a wonderful YouTube of the best of his “I don’t believe it’s”

Now I’m not suggesting for one moment that GPs are all either grumpy, or old, or men.  But you know what I mean.  Anyway, the great news is that a growing number, now well over 1%, are realising that yes, it can be me.

It’s 16 years since Dr Chris Barlow first realised, and 5 since we caught up, so we’ve updated the Dover Chart Collection to celebrate all the practices who have seen their waiting times fall off a cliff.


Harry Longman

PS  Last week I got some flak for saying we need transformation not improvement.  Well, yes, of course we need both but let me illustrate from a Kidderminster practice we are working with.  They launched last month and the average wait to see a GP dropped from 6 days to 0.3 days (with demand exactly as predicted).  That’s transformation.  Now they are working on getting the average GP response time down from 2 hours to under 30 minutes.  That’s improvement.

PPS  Here’s another thing Victor wouldn’t believe, and it makes you proud of the NHS.  In the US, the wait to see a GP ranges from 5 days to a jaw dropping 66 days in Boston.

2 responses to ““I don’t believe it!””

  1. Tim Caroe says:

    The 72 look great mostly. How many surgeries have attempted to implement this system and it hasn’t worked? The reason perhaps this is not widespread is that too many of us have heard horror stories of it not working, and they have had to revert to a more traditional system.

    • Harry Longman says:

      Tim, this is the vast majority of practices we’ve worked with. In some cases we have not been able to run the data, and in some, around 20% overall, they have reverted. The sustainable success rate is around 80%. I wish it were 100%, but that’s still not bad for a major change – read the literature on failed change – typically talks of 70% FAILURE.
      We’ve heard lots of horror stories too and they are almost invariably attempts at DIY, or by certain other companies. There is subtlety in this, and the need for very precise science, and because we’ve done it 100 times we know this extremely well. Some DIYs have succeeded but when they have asked us to look later on, we’ve always found problems because they don’t have the analysis tools to optimise their system. It’s very tempting for GPs who are used to making their own shoes, but it’s a false economy.
      Truth is, there is more evidence for this intervention and operating system than for anything else I’ve been able to find, and I’ve been looking very hard for five years.

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