Bolton GP Federation Chair’s Report

This is my first report as Interim Chair and I want to start by saying an opening thanks to our previous Chair, George Ogden, and hope he is enjoying his around-the-world adventure on a yacht.

Taking on this role has prompted me to reflect on what we, as a federation team, are here to do. Supporting our family of practices and PCNs to deliver the very best primary care services for the people of Bolton will always be at the very forefront of everything we do and plan to do. We do this by thinking creatively, collaborating, developing and improving local services. The ‘can do’ attitude is very much a reflection of what practices do on a daily basis.

Over the last few months, in response to feedback from our board and shareholders, we have been putting a lot of emphasis on communication and embedding this into our team culture. For the fed team and the practice teams to be truly joined up requires two-way communication, a shared understanding and open dialogue – and we’re focussing hard on this. We have introduced a variety of new communication and engagement opportunities, including having regular shareholder events and introducing Bolton Connect newsletter, highlight reports, and an Intranet platform accessible by all staff including practice teams. Please do feedback if you have any other suggestions to improve communication.

Our refreshed approach to communication will also help us be a more accountable and transparent organisation, which is also why I am making my Chair’s report publicly available.

The new board is shaping our strategic direction with much-valued input from our practices, patients and partners. We have consulted with our practices at a recent event and have been guided to focus on some very relevant, challenging and earnest priorities for the next few years. These areas include:

  • Digital
  • Estates
  • Health Inequalities
  • Support to practices and PCNs
  • Workforce

We want to be collaborative and action-focused so that we deliver on these in a way that benefits practices, PCNs and partners but ultimately improves the health and wellbeing of Boltonians. At our next practice event on Tuesday, 19 September at 6.30 pm, we’ll be looking at the estate crisis in more detail and developing a plan to help expand space for general practice in Bolton. One such project has started already and I’d like to thank the fed team with the opening of ‘The Health Hive’. This new space allows patients to access their vaccines, health checks and lipid optimisation therapy in the town centre. Is this model something that we could roll out into other areas and communities in Bolton?

By trusting your fed team to deliver on your collective behalf, we’re seeing some great achievements and impacts; from providing high-quality management and workforce for PCNs to delivering hundreds of evening and weekend appointments. Please follow this link to our Intranet for some updates on those services.

Finally, I wanted to use this opportunity as a reminder of all the work that your fed team (board and officers) does on your behalf that’s not always visible, locally, across GM and nationally. We are not just here to deliver services; we have an important role in seeking out and taking every possible opportunity to influence change too. We do this by positioning the federation as a go-to, solution-focused, innovative, equal partner.

The team work hard to embed primary care into important system-wide discussions to represent our local needs and priorities. One example of this is in relation to the work in Bolton to develop family hubs and a women’s network – these are equally great opportunities to help tackle inequalities and increase uptake for vital health checks and cancer screening, in communities where we may currently struggle to reach.

Thanks to our practices for your continued support. You can be confident that the fed team will continue to bang the drum for general practice and help support with the pressures we face in providing high-quality care for our patients.

Dr Kamran Khan

Interim Chair
Bolton GP Federation