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​​Andrew Parker, Director of Primary Care Development, talks about his work in commissioning 

Tell us about your role within the CCG? 

​I’m responsible for developing and​ overseeing the CCG community-based care development programme. This includes GP federation and Local Care Network (LCN) support and development, and primary care commissioning issues. I also lead on urgent care and on strategy, planning and digital developments. Those responsibilities sit alongside a more general CCG leadership role, along with my director colleagues.

What are the big challenges you and your team face at the moment? 

The big challenge is facilitating change in a supportive but challenging way across the local health system that results in a positive impact on local people. Like many parts of the NHS, we are faced with a rising demand for services, which sometimes outstrips supply. For example, the ever increasing numbers of people attending A&E departments, mean we are looking at a host of ways of providing a better service - while achieving the standards that people have a right to expect from us. 

If you could change one thing about the health service what would it be? 

I think we sometimes let organisational and professional boundaries get in the way of good patient care and experience. This is what lies behind our plan to develop Local Care Networks (LCNs). These aim to bring professionals together at a locality and neighbourhood level, to break down some of the boundaries and provide a better patient experience.

What is the one thing that you have learnt in the last year that has surprised you and why? 

Never make assumptions. Having worked in the NHS for many years, I think sometimes I assume I know how people will respond and react to a change or development, but a lesson continues to be that what I think and what others think can be quite different when we look at an issue through our own particular lens.

What are you most proud of in your working life? 

I’m very proud that due to the efforts of my team, the GP federations and GP practices in the borough, we are now delivering 70,000 or so extra GP and nurse appointments to local people this year than we were this time last year . This is making a real difference.

What activity/hobby helps you escape from work life? 

With two teenage boys preparing for their GCSEs and A levels I have precious little down time – although I wouldn’t have it any other way! When I do have time I enjoy playing the guitar and getting out of London for long walks in the country.