PRIMIS turned twenty in 2020. We have had (and continue to have) some remarkable people work at or alongside PRIMIS throughout those twenty years. Here we looked at some of those who are still working at PRIMIS and others who have gone on to different roles elsewhere in the NHS (in no particular order):
I started as a PRIMIS facilitator in 1999 working for the East Yorkshire PCT. Helen Atkinson was my mentor. I spent ten years working with GP practices in my PCT in relation to data quality, running MIQUEST searches and helping them improve by feedback presentations. During this time I really felt that I made a huge difference in relation to the quality of information being recorded by practices. This included enlightening them on where the errors were occurring, training their staff on Read coding and helping them create good clinical templates for data consistency.
In the beginning this helped them improve their annual PCT clinical audits for asthma and CHD, which then eventually developed into QOF. Once this was in place then the requirement to improve data quality focus shifted from general DQ to just that of the QOF Register patients. I was also involved in the development of a note summarisation policy for the PCT which still exists today with a few changes and updates along the way to include GP2GP.
About this time practices were beginning to be encouraged to move clinical systems and I was then heavily involved in supporting the practice in relation to data cleansing to remove and replace non standard Read codes, mainly EMIS ones, and a few TOREX system ones. Following two years of doing this I then evolved into a SystmOne and EMIS IT Project Manager working for the Informatics Department which then eventually reformed into the CSU. By this time funding had been withdrawn to support any DQ work and in the new CSU organisation there were no plans to include this as core services. I then fought for two years to continue the good work I had been doing along with being an IT Project Manager which was virtually impossible to keep up with. With the devolvement of the CSU I then left before the services moved to embed and decided to have a go at practice management!!
I started with a small practice of 2,500 patients with a small branch surgery and then two years ago we merged with a much larger practice which included one of them moving from Vision to SystmOne so once again I was back supporting practices move clinical systems and manage data cleansing!
I am still known in all the GP practices in the east riding as the Read code and DQ queen and often get approached for help and advice which is really lovely to know that they still trust me and my knowledge and skills learnt back in 1999!!
Due to my skills and knowledge I have been working on a consultancy basis on my day off from practice management, working with various organisations helping them with clinical templates, data quality and reporting. These include prisons, community services, other GP practices and extended/improving access services. I have just completed some work with a local Consultant Cardiologist/Heart Failure Specialist Nurse in Hull to develop a heart failure template for GP practices in the East Riding/Hull area and have been informed this week that they now require the template to be published nationally in SystmOne which is a great achievement.
I have to say that these have been the best and most rewarding 20 years of my working life in the NHS and most of this is down to my connections, support and training by the PRIMIS team. I had always had an interest in data quality, informatics and data recording in the secondary care sector where I worked for ten years but PRIMIS helped me ignite the fire further in the area of primary care!!
I joined Nottingham Health Informatics in 2001 as a Data Quality and Information Facilitator. I was trained by Louise Berwick (who I bumped into a couple of years ago by co-incidence!). I still remember her CARAT slide with a picture of a carrot beside the acronym!
There were around five of us doing the job in Nottinghamshire at the time. My role was to go round a selection of Nottingham practices (mainly in the Broxtowe and Hucknall PCT area which became Nottingham West eventually) training them on data quality, Read coding and even summarising. We also ran PRIMIS MIQUEST querysets that showed gaps in data quality that we could instruct and facilitate practices on remedying. It was timely stuff with the explosion of Health Informatics and its importance in everyday general practice.
I did this right up to 2009 when I then joined Chilwell Valley and Meadows Practice as Quality Development and Information Systems Manager (same level as the Practice Manager at the Practice, but focussing on the more technical/information/IG/research/audit areas). The experience I had got as a Facilitator was invaluable in both getting the job but also in carrying out my new role and for that I owe PRIMIS a debt of gratitude. Hopefully I’ve managed to pay some of that back helping PRIMIS out where I can since then!
I started in the NHS in 2003 (Wyre PCT) and on my first day my manager took me off to Birmingham for something called a “PRIMIS Conference”. I didn’t know what had hit me, trying to understand “Rush for Practices” and the like. It was 2008 before I changed from IT Support to being a Data Quality Analyst and got used to using CHART as part of my work for the PCT, supporting numerous practices with running the software and analysing the results. In fact, one of my first roles was as an Assessor under the IM&T DES, using CHART as the main tool. We used to meet up regularly with other Facilitators across the NW to compare approaches and share ideas – always very useful!
I retired from data quality and the NHS in 2016 but now work two days a week at a local GP Practice as their “Business Analyst”, and still use CHART occasionally (although now that we are on SNOMED CT coding, I’m not sure what the future holds for CHART*). I mainly use EMIS Web Population Reporting now.
* Please note: PRIMIS has been preparing for the implementation of SNOMED CT for some time, a commitment to future proof its tools. The release of SNOMED CT versions of tools will be announced as they become available
My name is Kerry Oliver and I was the PRIMIS facilitator for Waverley PCG in 2002, followed by Guildford and Waverley PCT.
I loved this job! I had come out of University and didn’t know what I wanted I do. My Mum had spotted an advert in the local newspaper for a data entry clerk at the GP practice, which I applied for and got. I spent 18 months working my way through the Lloyd George records summarising and entering the patient data onto the practice’s EMIS LV system. I worked alongside a GP and practice nurse and we would spend many meetings wondering at and navigating through the Read codes, trying to achieve some sort of standard approach to records management. So, when the role of PRIMIS facilitator came up – it was as if the stars had aligned, my perfect job and the next step on the career ladder.
The role of a PRIMIS facilitator is very special. Armed with the most amazing training and support from the national team, I started to knock on the doors of the practices in the area to see if I could support them with their records management too. It is fair to say that some were more receptive than others, but overall, there was much interest and support in the PRIMIS approach and methodology. Facilitation can be a scary business. Both for you and for your participants. But there I was, in my mid-twenties, running feedback sessions with practice teams, often managing negative attitudes and behaviours, but ultimately making a difference and knowing, through the data returns from PRIMIS, that data quality was improving. I recall one GP, after two years of gentle but fairly persistent coaxing and persuasion, eventually telephoning me on a Friday afternoon to ask if I would sit with him the following week to help him understand how he could use patient electronic records more effectively. A major Woohoo moment!
I got the tap on the shoulder – which is how PRIMIS does a lot of its recruitment – and became a PRIMIS trainer in 2004. Jump forward to 2020 and I’m now the Managing Director. I’m very proud that we have continued to adapt and evolve and be at the forefront of primary care health informatics. Only this week we were approached by a central body to spread some of our ‘magic SNOMED pixie dust’ over a specification – their words not ours. I love coming across people who have been trained by us or worked for PRIMIS and hearing what they now do. We have had the privilege of working with some incredibly talented individuals and in our twentieth year, I look forward to celebrating their successes, as well as our own. I can often struggle to describe exactly what it is we do at PRIMIS. But one thing is clear, it was and will always be about the people.
In 1990 I was appointed as part-time adviser to Lincolnshire Family Health Service Authority (FHSA - remember them? no, I thought not) and one of my responsibilities was to introduce medical audit. We set up the Medical Audit Advisory Group which Sheila Teasdale ran. As the 1990s progressed it became more and more obvious to us that one key skill was scarce - turning the data in GP computer records into information, and then using that information to gain understanding that led to real change. Sheila recruited Mike Bainbridge and Pete Horsfield, two GPs with an informatics background, and created a group called Jigsaw.
Although I was no longer working in Lincolnshire I stayed engaged and when the then NHS Information Authority began to discuss funding I persuaded the University of Nottingham (where I had a chair in general practice) to take on the contract and to create space in the Tower Building. It is a source of real pride for me that I am still involved as chair of the board of PRIMIS and that twenty years on the idea that we had is still relevant and continues to flourish.
I spent my first 16 years working for the Practitioner and Patient Services Agency, before moving to work in Primary Care for Trust implementing the new GMS contract (are we still allowed to call it new now that it is 16 years old?). Three years later, I was successful in getting a job as PRIMIS facilitator for Southampton PCT, implementing the IM&T DES for the GP practices in Southampton.
My first few weeks were spent with the lovely Nic Gowers who was my Learning Consultant. Everything she taught me I absorbed like a sponge and was soon holding my own training events on coding, summarising and CHART. She called me her prodigy! I created a PRIMIS newsletter for practices and had developed some really good working relationships with them all, even converting the reluctant ones to engage! I enjoyed the PRIMIS conferences which enabled networking, learning and support. I actively took part in the presentations, poster displays and evening running some of the breakout sessions. I discovered a love of training and supporting others with implementation. The team at PRIMIS were always supportive and helpful, maintaining a friendly manner and dealing with queries from the difficult to the ridiculous with the same level of professionalism.
Currently on secondment from my role as Primary Care Development and Commissioning Manager for Southampton CCG, I am now the Primary Care Workforce Transformation Lead for Hampshire and IoW STP (Sustainability Transformation Partnership), supporting the implementation of the NHS 10 year plan. With 32 years’ service in the NHS under my belt, I am proud to work for a caring organisation.
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