Celebrating 5 Years of Leeds GP Confederation – Mark Gulliver Reflects

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Five years ago, Leeds GP Confederation was formed. Today the Confed is a well-established organisation with the mission to have a resilient organisation that focuses on the voice and representation of General Practice, as well as providing services. However, the work to achieve this has been ongoing from before the Confed existed as a registered organisation.

Alongside the growth of the Confed, several dedicated staff have been with the team since the start. To celebrate five official years of the Confed, Mark Gulliver, Operational Team Leader, reflects on his journey from before the beginning of the Confed.

I joined the Enhanced Access service as a receptionist back in February 2015 when the concept of providing GP appointments on a weekend first came into fruition. At the time we only offered GP appointments, which soon progressed to offering Health Care Assistant, and eventually Nursing appointments. We then expanded from offering these services on a weekend, to opening seven days a week.

From the beginning I thought the Enhanced Access service was a fantastic idea! It suits many people’s needs; people are ill seven days a week and if you’re working it’s hard to get an appointment without taking time off. A few months after starting work as a receptionist I spent that long speaking to a patient about the benefits of opening on a weekend and having a really good conversation, I forgot to check the patient in! Thankfully the GP that the patient was booked into was understanding and saw the patient, which led to a really positive comment in our compliments book.

I can remember having a conversation in the early days with an old Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) manager and being asked how I saw the Confed developing. Back then I firmly believed that we could grow to be leading example in both Leeds and nationally, that people would look to as a pioneer in healthcare delivery.

Fast forwarding a couple of years, I became an operational team leader in Feb 2018. At that time, we had around 45 staff. By the time April 2022 came around this number had significantly risen, and we are now at around 450 members of staff, that’s a 1000% increase! Including having a team of rota coordinators, deputy and operational team leaders, a business manager, as well as HR support, data analysts, and a strong finance and senior management team.

We now have a working website with excellent resources, provide a range of training to our Primary Care colleagues and are well respected as an organisation, being shortlisted for several awards. We have also supported the wider system through several initiatives that I am proud to have had input into, Hot Hub clinics during the pandemic, Same Day Response services and the Community Ambulatory Paediatric Service (CAPS) and Adult Ambulatory Respiratory Clinic (AARC) that are currently being run from St George’s centre. We successfully navigated our first CQC inspection in 2023, achieving an outstanding rating.

I am proud to say that we are well on our way to achieving what I had thought about in that conversation years ago.

Mark Gulliver, Operational Team Leader, Leeds GP Confederation