Our vision: to transform access to medical care.

How many will make it to Skegness?

I have to get the blog out early this weekend because today is the annual club ride from Leicester to Skegness.  It’s over 100 miles but with crafty drafting in a close knit peloton and a couple of cake stops, I reckon most of us will drink in that bracing air before opening time.

There’s another bunch however who definitely won’t make it.  They are the ones not starting, and they got me thinking.

Twice this week a GP asked me, “How many practices succeed with the launch programme?”  I answered what we know which is about 75 – 80%.  It’s not 100%, but pretty high for major change in any sphere.  We try to put off those likely to fail, and we don’t always get it right.

But on reflection the failure rate is well over 90%.  We’ve had thousands of enquiries and contacts over five years, yet have helped only about 100 practices to what they often call “a new lease of life”.  What happened?  They failed to start.

It’s a conundrum, because the funny thing is that they are no different from those that did start, often from very unpromising situations.  The difference is not one of nature, skill or circumstances.  It is just a matter of making a decision.

Why did so few decide?  I have a theory, and it’s not to do with lack of evidence.  In the mental fight between evidence and fear, evidence stands little chance.  Something more powerful is needed, something like hope, desire, perseverance.  If I may quote trampoline silver medallist Bryony Page, “To be the best I could be.”

I’d welcome your views.

Harry Longman


2 responses to “How many will make it to Skegness?”

  1. George Rook says:

    Absolutely. Agree.
    But I think GPs have reversed into a fortified cul de sac. It takes social movement approach to persuade and influence
    one at a time, face to face. You can post, advertise, cajole, demonstrate…but defensive GPs and practice managers opt for the same they have grown up with. Until they are led to the light!

  2. Harry Longman says:

    From Richard Wyatt-Haines: Harry, you address an issue that is a common discussion in our boardroom too.

    Your point about evidence is spot on. But I think that there is a lot of “I just haven’t got time to think about this” going on as well, as people just don’t have the space to absorb the opportunities or to deploy them. And this will remain the case until there is absolutely fundamental and transformational change in how we deliver healthcare.

    I don’t think that is necessarily about privatisation (and I’m not even convinced that that is the answer). It is a more fundamental and cultural willingness to consider what we are trying to do and how we are trying to do it, rather than the piecemeal approach that we currently see. But people need space to be able to see and take these opportunities. They don’t have it at the moment, so bits of incremental change dominate but sadly don’t deliver the results that are needed.

    I don’t think there is an answer coming in short-term, but we have to keep pressing on regardless and continue to push to improve the system. The opportunity will arrive one day, and we must all be here to grab it and run with it.

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