New clinical director for the Excellence Network announced

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Dr Donald Grosset has been recently appointed as the new clinical director for the Excellence Network.

In this interview, he talks about how he plans to build on the foundations laid since its launch in 2015 and work to ensure everyone involved in Parkinson's services has the opportunity to transform care.

How did you get involved in Parkinson’s services?

"It was actually what I would call a 'happy accident'. Back in 1995, I was working in stroke neurology when an opportunity came up to get involved in movement disorders. And through a sequence of events, I’ve been there ever since."

Is it true that you've been involved in the Excellence Network since the start?

"Yes, I was fortunate enough to be involved in the baseline discussions looking at the best model for promoting excellence in services. Following its launch, I have been the West of Scotland regional working group lead and have been working closely with the other Excellence Network leads, particularly my colleagues in Scotland, Conor Maguire and Carl Counsell."

What motivated you to go for the role of clinical director?

"I saw it as a great opportunity to lead something that has already started to make a difference, but has the potential to do more. I feel that my predecessor Prof David Burn made an excellent job of creating a solid foundation – that we can all build upon as we go forward."

What are your ideas for the future of the Excellence Network?

"One of the great things about the Excellence Network is that it is inclusive. When we were first discussing models to support service improvement, the idea of having specific sites of excellence was explored. However, we wanted excellence to be everywhere, not just in selected centres. What developed was a model where every region had a lead person who worked with colleagues across all the specialties, all with this common goal. This helps towards a UK-wide improvement in delivery of care.

"I definitely want to keep running with our inclusive approach with all services for people affected by Parkinson's remaining on board and achieving excellence in their own way. Everyone is in one big team, and we can help each other and support and share, striving towards providing excellence in every aspect of care.

"I would also like to see the evolution of initiatives like the Excellence Network Awards to reward exemplary care in different ways. For instance, if a service was able to demonstrate standards of care that met certain thresholds (these could be linked to the UK Parkinson's Audit), they should be recognised in some way. It's up to us as the Excellence Network to determine what the criteria for excellence are, and how this would work with a broad range of services. But it's important that people who work hard should feel a sense of achievement for what they do, and get recognition for their results."

Research is also an important area of work for you. What role does this play in service delivery?

"Yes, I’ve been involved in research over many years and have published articles in the Movement Disorders, Parkinsonism and Related Disorders, and Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. Since 2012, I have led the Tracking Parkinson’s study which is looking to improve the ways we track and monitor the condition.

"It's important to realise that research is a spectrum. As well as the scientific molecular work, it’s also about work to improve the accuracy of diagnosis and how to create the conditions for optimum delivery of care. Many research questions that have started with observations in the clinic. It’s important that people use research as a way of asking 'why?' and exploring different ways to do things, if we are going to tackle the issues that affect the day-to-day lives of people with the condition."

What will you do to ensure people affected by Parkinson's play a central role in the Excellence Network?

"It's crucial that people affected by Parkinson’s are involved in all strands of the Excellence Network. It's great to see people with the condition taking on leadership roles within the Network, as has happened in the South West and the Grampian regions. Their involvement can ensure that we all keep the focus on what health and social care services need to look like for them.

"And it's also important to remember that they can bring additional skills to the working groups. For example, I know of one volunteer keen to use his computer database skills to help. People with Parkinson's come from all walks of life with an array of skills and expertise and we’d be losing out not to use these."

Finally, what does quality services mean to you?

"It’s about getting things right – with the right team at the right time. It’s about services being responsive and helpful and using a joined-up approach to involve other services when needed. It’s also about having a multidisciplinary team that is continually self-monitoring for improvement.

"I see the Excellence Network as a big network of people working together for the common good of people affected by Parkinson's.  This is what myself and other leaders within the Excellence Network will be working towards."

New Leadership Opportunities 

Parkinson's UK is now looking to recruit Therapy and Nursing leads for the Excellence Network. If you are interested, please contact Steve Ford sford@parkinsons.org.uk to discuss roles further.

Applications via CV and a supporting statement are invited by Friday 26 January 2018.

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