This week I have been a part of Here and Sussex MSK Partnership -or the organisations and services that preceded them- for eleven years. Considering that I’ve only otherwise stayed at jobs for two years it is extraordinary that I’ve been somewhere that long!

Now I am moving on to going to leadership for Allied Health Professionals in a completely different role. It has been a wonderful last decade and a bit and I wanted to share a few thoughts on what has been important to me in that time.

Space to fail can be a game changer

I am probably most proud of my little First Contact Practitioner (FCP) team. Recently I looked at the data -and I know data is boring, but wait it’s quite exciting- three years ago we had three FCP clinics and we’re now doing 85 clinics a week. If you work that out in terms of how many patients are actually seeing in primary care right at the beginning of their journey, you’re looking at 700 to 800 patients a week, which is amazing.

Here I must give a shout out to Sussex MSK’s Head of Operational Delivery Helen Baker, because she let me do it. At the time it wasn’t the only business case, it was probably going to lose money and it was all very new and she gave me permission to try. Even if I failed, it was permission to actually give something a go. We had a group of people, and with me and Project Coordinator Martina Silla we set this up. In three years we have gone to being one of the biggest employers FCPs in the country. That’s a game changer.

Brilliant people make you look good

I have worked with some inspiring clinicians over the years, both inside and outside of physiotherapy. I’ve met some amazing physiotherapists, worked some fantastic doctors and GPs, Osteopaths and nurses. But actually, what is special about Sussex MSK Partnership is the other support and non-clinical staff. I’ve worked with some astonishing young men and women in this organisation, and it is going to be the hardest thing to leave them.

They make me look good. They have skills that, in all honesty, I don’t have, and we have been really respectful of what each other can bring. It has just been a pleasure, even in these days of remote Teams calls, to see people and to connect with them, and to feel we have a shared purpose that we can come to with our different skills. That’s when things really start happening.

I’ve not yet cried about leaving, but whenever I ever think about Martina I want to cry! She is a very special lady and we’ve worked together really well. We’re really different -she’s so much more ethereal and creative than I am- but we just had a connection. We began by working on the self-referral project and we won some awards and that was all great, but what I value is her. She has stuck with me through FCP and through ups and downs. She is an extraordinary young woman who has taught me a huge amount, and I will really miss her.

Go with care, kindness and curiosity

Yesterday I tweeted about how to be an FCP and my reflections. I said: be curious, be kind and integrate. I meant integrate with primary care, but it’s also about making to effort to go make a colleague a cup of coffee, go and see how they are and be kind to each other.

It’s been really tough, period, and I don’t think it’s going to get particularly easy going forward, but we’re all trying to do the same thing. We are doing a really good job. So look out for each other, check in with each other and be purposeful. We know what we’re all trying to do: we’re trying to make it better for patients and look after each other at the same time.

The people I have worked with here are not just colleagues. Many of them I am really proud to call friends, and I will really miss them.
So please keep including me, that would be lovely!

tagged in Enabling Team

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