What a Journey! The Road to becoming a Clinical Governance and Performance Lead

LOCSU is boosting its support for Clinical Governance and Performance Leads (CGPLs). Simone Mason, from Solihull LOC, has been appointed as LOCSU’s new Digital Support Learning Officer.

Simone, who has a delivery role with Heart of West Midlands Primary Eyecare Company, is to spearhead a new support initiative for CGPLs. Here she describes her journey from Dispensing Optician to CGPL and optical leader.

She will be addressing a special pre-NOC meeting of CGPLs on the 8 November at Chesford Grange. The agenda will include discussions on how to build closer links among the CGPL community, including plans for a new, dedicated online forum, tactic sharing, best practice and Webstar and Data Repository information. If you are a CGPL or a thinking of becoming one, make sure you attend this year’s NOC. Visit the NOC page for full programme and booking.

What a Journey! Becoming a CGPL

by Simone Mason, CGLP

In January 2016, I was recommended by the Service Lead for Solihull, who is a director of the Primary Eyecare Company (Heart of West Midlands) Ltd, to join Solihull LOC, as I was doing some locum days at his practice.

He said he had a “brain wave” and explained a little bit about the Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS) and the LOC. He said it would be good if I joined and I could get involved in the scheme.

Little did I realise that, from that “brain-wave” and after attending my first LOC meeting in January 2016 – including a whole new programme of training to become a CGPL – that it would lead to an even newer and exciting chapter in my career!

Baptism of fire

The first task was to attend the meetings and get co-opted on to the LOC, as we were part way through the year. The motion to was passed unanimously The LOC recognised that DOs have an important role as part of the LOC. Speaking as a DO we have a very important skill set that allow us to be ideal candidates to get involved in extended primary care services and other local pathways.

During the next few months, I completed the “Quality in Optometry (QiO)” checklists in preparation for the CGPL role. It was, indeed, a “baptism of fire”. It was a completely different to dispensing – a world of NHS Contracts, learning acronyms, Information Governance and the Toolkit, Human Resource Policies, Health and Safety, Risk Assessments, Data Protection Act, Data Management, Indemnity Insurance, Equal Opportunities, Whistleblowing, Caldicott Guardian, Safeguarding, Freedom of Information Act, Confidentiality, Serious Incidents, Duty of Candour, Information Asset Register, Security Risk Assessment, Fire Assessment, Business Continuity Plan, Complaints Policy, Make Every Contact Count and Accessible Information Standard. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it gives a flavour of the many framework conditions and responsibilities a CGPL must adhere to.

Personally, I think starting my involvement by actually completing the QiO checklists has given me a huge insight into the complexities of setting up your own practice and signing an NHS contract to deliver general ophthalmic services (GOS). So I have gained hugely in terms of professional development and knowledge.

Within the first month of joining the LOC, we had a mobilisation meeting, which gave me more an idea about the launch of the services. I made it my job to know how many practices were accredited in the scheme, who was nearly there and those who unlikely to participate. I also wanted the sub-contractors and practices to be aware they had a named, personal contact, a process that is ongoing.

In July 2016 I undertook the LOC Induction Course. I completed the interactive course, rather than just going through the slides – again here on the LOCSU website. I participated in an interactive, facilitated course which was really informative about the role of LOCSU and LOCs, and I would recommend this and email info@locsu.co.uk to take part in their next course.

At the end of 2016, the incumbent CGPL at my LOC revealed that she was moving out of the area, so I volunteered to complete the course before she resigned in May 2017.

I completed the LOCSU-accredited CGPL Course on the LOCSU website. This enables CGPLs to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the role and its responsibilities. My completed assignment was reviewed by LOCSU against the criteria provided and a certificate of accreditation was issued to me on 27th March 2017.

For those interested in becoming a CGLP, a copy of the role description can be downloaded from the LOCSU website, via this link.

I’m often asked about how much time is needed to devote to the role and how I manage my availability. My guidance would be around a day a week, which may be evenings or weekends.

You have to think ahead and plan how you fit in the preparation of the reports and presentations, if you have a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) review, you may need to put in more time around these reviews.

In terms of availability, if I’m in practice, I manage okay by just checking emails during my breaks. Anything urgent I can answer in my lunchbreak. I do receive emails in the evenings and weekends, but I find that acceptable. It’s your rules!

But in terms of the rewards, here is my personal list:

  • Ability to be involved in a worthwhile community pathway or help develop new ones
  • To meet and work with a team of skilled professionals. (Extraordinary people)
  • Supporting sub-contractors and direct interaction with local opticians
  • Bringing the local optical community together - Making a difference to the community.
  • Sharing the news to the sub-contractors
  • Building the reputation of the service
  • Creative problem solving - Dealing with complaints and resolving them
  • Collaborating with the CCG
  • Opportunity for personal growth. Leadership.
  • Flexibility to manage my own research interests and my own schedule with young children at home. (Working from home with hours to suit)
  • Unique and enjoyable work.
  • I have a huge responsibility on the success or failure of the MECS scheme and other pathways. Of course, I want it to be a huge success!

During the last 18 months – my Professional and Personal Development has gone bonkers! I’ve become a member of my local LOC, a CGPL, attending Regional Optical Committee meetings, attend LEHN meetings, a sub-regional lead for ABDO and I successfully passed the Leadership Skills for Optical Professionals (Postgraduate Module).

At a recent meeting for CGPLs, Richard Rawlinson, the ABDO regional lead for the North of England, Midlands and East Anglia, asked us for a quick resume of our career, what involvement we have in our LOC, how many days in practice we do and our hobbies. Most of us said “optics” was our “hobby” and to make us all feel “sane” Richard told us: “there’s nothing wrong with having optics as a hobby.” Those who did have a life, left early! LOL!

I am excited to be part of the extended primary care services in my locality and I urge all optical professionals to upskill and gain experience in providing optical services. To Optometrists and CLOs – it is vital to become accredited to prove your worth and become the GP of the eyes.

Simone Mason
simonemason@locsu.co.uk

More information

If you would like to mirror Simone’s journey, use the relevant links below to find out more:

For more information about becoming a Clinical Governance & Performance Lead, visit the dedicated page on the LOCSU website

For more information about joining your LOC, contact them via their local website.

For more information about Induction Training, visit the Learning & Development page of the website and email info@locsu.co.uk to take part in the next Interactive Induction training course.

For more information about the Leadership Skills for Optical Professionals module, visit the LOCSU website.

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