An Approved Training Practice. Member of Harness GP Network within Brent CCG, which is part of NW London Collaboration of CCGs of NHS London.
We are a Partnership of 7 GPs . We employ 4 Associate GPs, 1 Clinical Pharmacist, 2 Physician Associates, 1 Advanced Nurse Practitioner, 3 Practice Nurses, 2 Healthcare Assistant / Phlebotomists. We also teach young Trainee Doctors, many of whom plan a career in general practice.
The Reception Team is headed by Anne-Marie, our Customer Care Manager - they look after patients, their appointments, prescriptions and all the stuff that flies around - a massive amount of administration involved in running a busy, large practice and this includes a backroom team of Workflow Administrators to handle the huge influx of correspondence and data each day.
Responsible for pulling it all together and managing the huge regulatory and financial responsibility is our Practice Manager, Ms Amanda Ure, supported by the Assistant Practice Manager and Practice Administrator.
Meet our team and find out more about our roles
The practice was started in the 1950s by Dr John Ashken in the front room of his house at 301 Kingsbury Road. Later he converted the garage and then built a small building alongside; 301a (now much changed into a Solicitor's office).
Dr Wendy Kelsey became the senior partner in the 1970s and built up a devoted following and set a very high standard of personal medical care we have tried to emulate ever since. She remains in everyone's eyes the archetypal family doctor, going many extra miles for everyone and is still much loved by her many loyal patients. She enjoys a happy retirement in Essex.
In 1986 the practice moved out of it's rather weird shoe-box with its external stair and toilet directly off the waiting room, back into the now much extended and adapted house at 301.
In 2002 we took over a failing single handed practice in Church Lane, brought it up to modern standards and eventually incorporated it into our building at 301.
The building at 301 Kingsbury Road served us well, with a few adaptations over the years, until we moved into our lovely new surgery in 2016. We won't talk about the struggles with NHS bureaucracy to get it approved and finally, just at the point of losing the land, we had a crunch meeting in Whitehall, brokered by our local MP, Barry Gardiner, at which we finally agreed the go ahead with the land owner and the NHS.
The building was designed by a well-known health facilities architect, Marc Levinson (of MurphyPhilipps), who happened to have been a baby at the practice all those years ago! We do try to keep it 'in the family' and had several patients contributing to various parts of the building - a bricklayer, electrician, plasterer, telecoms engineer and plumber.
Crucial to creating this new building was our Patient Group -they supported us and lobbied on our behalf and we are most grateful, in particular to the two co-chairs, Seb Malde and Katerina Michaelides, who has sadly since died.
We made a video presenting a somewhat tongue-in-cheek story of our growth and development for the opening ceremony available here (password Willow1)
British General Practice began in the 19th century but only for those who could afford to pay. Lloyd George’s National Insurance Act of 1911 opened comprehensive health care to all working men - but not their families. They were placed on the ‘panel’ of a GP (we still hear some older patients mentioning this).
The NHS began in 1948 and everyone had access to a GP, though the GPs feared a loss of independence and earnings, so 84% voted against! However, 86% eventually agreed to join the NHS and nearly all within 6 months. A concession agreed was that GPs would remain 'independent contractors' outside the NHS, rather than salaried NHS employees, a situation which remains to this day. They were paid a ‘capitation’ fee and some 'item of service' additions but had to pay for the running of their practice from this. There was no spare cash to pay for any staff but often the GP's wife (it was a male dominated profession) was receptionist and if lucky, a nurse.
The GP was the ‘gatekeeper’ of free NHS healthcare and sickness benefit. GPs were usually single handed and provided care 24/7, so people made use of this wonderful new resource and workload rose steeply, GPs became demoralised and standards were variable.
The Royal College of GPs formed in 1952 to improve standards, regularise training and research and to make general practice a key specialty.
But by 1964 GPs little had changed, morale had sunk even lower under a rising workload and lack of funding to improve matters. It was seen as the Cinderella branch of medicine where failed doctors ended up, demoralised. They threatened mass resignation from the NHS if their working conditions did not improve and in 1966 the BMA negotiated a GP charter defining the way GPs would be paid (the terms and conditions known as ‘The Red Book’) and teaching about general practice would start in all medical schools. Benefits included some reimbursements for premises and staffing costs, enabling them to develop better surgeries and to employ managers, receptionists, nurses and to form partnerships with other GPs for mutual support and providing better facilities and services. General practice had come into the modern age.
GPs studied and wrote about the care of patients, the skills required, academic departments were formed, research flourished and plenty of young doctors were stimulated to join a rising specialty. In 1976 a three year postgraduate training programme became mandatory.
As the universal health service expanded there was a shortfall of doctors across the NHS, including general practice. Enoch Powell, the Health Minister, appealed for doctors from around the world and many keen doctors arrived from the Asian Sub-continent in particular, expecting an exciting career. Many ended up in less favourable hospital specialties or as GPs in difficult inner city or remote rural areas, often battling racism and discrimination from the profession as well as patients. This generation of doctors, having been the backbone of the NHS has now retired and is replaced by many from the second generation. They are rightly demanding better than their parents had to endure and once more we face an uncertain future for general practice in many less desirable parts of the country.
Waves of NHS reorganisation have shunted general practice down a variety of different roads and cul de sacs, from fund-holding, a new contract with performance targets, increased accountability, practice based commissioning, health promotion, practice mergers and the rise of the super-practice, CQC, digital transformation, primary care networks and shortly in 2021 another big change with the mergers of CCGs and creation of integrated care systems and the like.
Check out some of the features of this fascinating area.