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Private Practice Networks

Private Practice Networks

Private practice networks (PPNs) were originally set up over a decade ago when informal local groups of private practitioners met on a regular basis to discuss general issues of practice with like-minded people. There was no rigid format to the meetings - they could be a social get together or a dedicated learning opportunity, whatever the group felt it needed. The original plan for these networks, which came from the Committee for Private Practice, was to help one person to become an organiser or administrator who would then ensure meeting venues and dates were set. Because this was not necessarily attached to branch activity, a database of administrators was set up and the networks were effectively self-sufficient. This database is now out of date. We know that networks exist but do not have any real idea of how extensive they are and how many areas do not have access at all.

The recent revision of the College Committee Structure has replaced the Committee for Private Practice with the Independent Practice Group (IPG). At the inaugural meeting of the IPG we made a commitment to undertake a scoping exercise into the present PPN provision with a view to extending this to encompass all areas. We recognise that the current workforce demographic sees a lot more of our members working in independent and private practice. There is now a need to make PPNs more structured so that experienced members can act as mentors to newer graduates embarking upon practice outside the public sector. The IPG feeds into the Membership Committee, which means that PPNs can now feed back ideas directly into the College.

The first part of the exercise is to ask current networks (no matter how informal) to make contact with the IPG at the College. Please contact Maureen Jonas, who co-ordinates the IPG, at maureen.jonas@cop.org.uk, so that we can map the current provision. The next stage will be to seek out individuals who would be prepared to be involved in setting up further networks. It is envisaged that there would be some form of training extended to these organisers and a structure feeding directly back to the IPG.

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