Posted by: ayrshirehealth | January 27, 2016

Dear diary by @paulokerr

Paul Kerr

I have been asked [forced] to write a blog for a blog thing run by my office ‘mate’, Dezza (aka @dtbarron). NAHSCP LogoI have never written a blog before – so, depending upon how it goes, it’s either apologies to any/all of you blogsperts out there or, its thanks for letting me join the club.

Anyway, my name is Paul Kerr. I am the Clinical Director [CD]  for North Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership [NAHSCP]. I am also a GP in Irvine – Frew Terrace Surgery  – and I manage training of GPs within Ayrshire & Arran.

paulokerrAnd it is because I am a GP and the local GP training program director that I am here. Because, about 18 months ago, I went to a regional trainers meeting in Clydebank at the Beardmore/Jubilee Hospital. And at that meeting, a man [whose name I cannot recall] stood up and gave us a talk about health and social care partnerships.

He said that in 6 months’ time – in April 2015 – there will be things out there called Health & Social Care Partnerships. And these things will be very important for the future of general practice and primary care in Scotland.

He really grabbed my attention when he suggested that it would be very important – imperative! – for us GPs to wake up, smell the coffee and embrace these partnerships.

I did and have done.

I began to find out more stuff and more information about this partnership thing.  And, then, out of the blue, an advert appeared for the job of clinical director of NAHSCP. I thought – yes, this is a great opportunity, a great challenge I am ready to face.Job advert

So, I applied for the position and I was [and still am] absolutely delighted to have been appointed.

And, as you probably know, before you apply for any job, you do the usual things: you read up about it, you imagine what the job will involve and you decide whether this is the right opportunity for you, or not.

And if you get selected for interview, you begin to wonder what that will be like, what kind of questions they will ask you and what sort of things you should be asking them.  You come out of the interview and you contemplate: If you don’t get the job, you will feel disappointed, realize it may not have been the right thing for you at that particular moment. You  will eventually dry your eyes and you will move on.

But, if you do get the job, you feel great. You realize that there is an exciting challenge ahead and you hope it is the right thing for you. You suck a lemon to get the smile off your face and you get ready to go.

Dear diary ..

I am delighted that I got the job and I still have a slice of lemon in my mouth.

Reflective diarySo, I have been in post several months now and this blog is a sort of reflective diary entry type of thing about my journey to date. As it happens, I am not a natural ‘reflector’ but being an activist I have forced myself become a semi-decent reflector.

From day one in the job the first thing that struck me was the pandemic of positivity in the partnership team. Our team is filled with people who are keen, enthusiastic, friendly and fun. And all of the people I have met share a common and extremely important ambition – we all want to make a difference: a positive difference.

And we are fortunate to be led by Iona Colvin (@iona_colvin) who truly embodies that enthusiasm and ambition.

And, for me, the North Ayrshire HSCP mission statement is the mantra that is crucial and underpins all that I set out to accomplish. And that mantra is:

‘Everything I do is aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of people in North Ayrshire’.

With that focus, I am confident that all the things I do/suggest/propose in my role as clinical director – even if they turn out not to be as ‘cool’ as I thought they might be – are done with that positive intention in mind.

The Higgs Bosun – parallel universes

As a GP, I am fortunate to work in a local GP practice which aims to provide high quality and excellent healthcare to all of our patients. Frew Terrace SurgeryAt Frew Terrace Surgery, we have very experienced dedicated, friendly and keen healthcare professionals, managerial and administrative team members who – like all our NAHSCP staff – want to make a positive difference.

And in my role as a GP, it has become clear over time that there is a very strong bond between healthcare and social care. They go hand in hand. Patients being ‘well’ means that they feel well emotionally, physically and are looked after well by family, friends and –when needed – by social services and social care team professionals.

But, up until April 2015, health care and social care used to exist in parallel universes. I am a GP, I do health care. They are social workers, they do social care. They don’t really want to know or care what I do and I don’t really want to know or care what they do. That’s their job, its not my job.

Higgs BosonBut thanks to Iona Colvin and the Higgs Boson – health and social care teams are now living in the same universe.

We now have a better idea of what each of us do, how we work well together and how we will improve the health and well-being of the people of North Ayrshire.

And this is a truly synergistic relationship – 1+1 does not equal 2:

What we are achieving is much greater than the sum of our parts.

And .. so what?

I also have to say that I am so delighted to have met the wonderful people who work with the Integration Joint Board – directly or indirectly –to help deliver health and social care improvements in North Ayrshire. Strategic Plan

These are people from many walks of life all of whom give so much of their time and expertise to help deliver positive change.

Elected members, non-executive board members, third/voluntary sector colleagues, senior management, financial experts and, very importantly, patients and carers  – all of us putting in hard work and effort to truly make a positive difference.

And  – so what? Nice people. Bucket loads of positivity. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I have been to more talking shops than I care to remember. I have heard nauseating, hackneyed phrases, empty/meaningless promises and bucket loads of equine faecal material – people talking the talk. And usually rubbish, undeliverable disingenuous talk.

ACTAnd, for me, the ‘so-what?’ is that: I will be nice.  I will be positive. And I do have great intentions. However, I am not planning on going South for winter. Like all of us in the partnership, I will ensure that I work with our team to deliver real, tangible, touchy-feely benefits that will make a difference.

And I promise that I will do my best to ensure that I will have open and purposeful conversations with everyone I am in contact with and that I will facilitate positive progress: I want us all to walk the walk and deliver tangible benefits.

Let’s make it happen!

This week’s blog was by @paulokerr (Paul Kerr), Clinical Director, North Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership and GP, Frew Terrace Surgery, Irvine



  1. Fantastic and motivational blog, your passion for North Ayrshire shines through the words.
    I think we all recognise the “nauseating, hackneyed phrases, empty/meaningless promises and bucket loads of equine faecal material – people talking the talk. And usually rubbish, undeliverable disingenuous talk” that happens , you are righ,t “Just do it”.

  2. Positively inspiring! Shine on! And buckets full of luck to you. We know from the evidence that the social determinants of health have such a central role in health and wellbeing and prior to H&SC Partnerships it was really difficult to join health and social efforts up, so now we have the legislative levers, we can get on and deliver meaningful change.

  3. Congratulations Dr Kerr, great first blog, most inspiring, best of luck to you.

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