In Conversation With…Janet Bartlett, our GP Liaison Manager
We know there are lots of very interesting people in our Trust, whether through their work, their interests or their hobbies outside work. We want to get to know them and share their story.
So here is the next instalment of our series: In Conversation With…Janet Bartlett, our GP Liaison Manager.
Lives: In Romford with boyfriend Neil, 42, a lorry driver.
And: Despite over a decade in the NHS, Janet originally wanted to be a nursery nurse! She was also taught at St Mary’s School in Hornchurch by Mrs Hunt – mum to a certain Peter Hunt, our Director of Communication and Engagement and Janet’s boss!
What’s your role at our Trust and how long have you been with us?
As the GP Liaison Manager I’m the link between our Trust and primary care across our three boroughs, as well as further afield. A big part of my role is getting out and about visiting local GP practices and primary care services, to help improve our engagement with them.
I also manage our GP helpdesk, where practices raise service alerts, and I look into resolving issues. In some cases it can simply be a case of pointing them in the right direction.
I’m here to ensure GPs are aware when we make changes to our services, such as referral processes, so they know what’s expected of them.
We’ve got around 135 practices across our area with over 230 GPs, so it’s a big job trying to get round to everyone – and there’s only one of me! It helps that there are already targeted forums, like the local medical committees and GP Network meetings, where I can go and see lots of them at once.
I’ve been at our Trust for around a year and a half. A lot of colleagues I meet don’t know I exist or realise we have an in-house link straight to primary care. Everyone is free to contact me directly if there are things they want our GPs to know, or to get involved with, or it could even be you’re setting up an educational event which you want to get GPs along to.
This wasn’t your planned career path…was it?
I wanted to be a nursery nurse when I was younger. I started training when I was 17, however, around that age I also discovered that I liked having a social life. I was keen to start earning my own money and had been told there wasn’t much money in being a nursery nurse. So I left and got a job in London. I was a junior secretary for a firm called Hauni, in the tobacco industry.
It was a small firm and my first job in London. I loved it. I had money coming in and was enjoying meeting lots of new people and seeing my friends.
Then when I was 21 I decided to go to Portugal, on my own, to work. My parents had an apartment there and I’d been loads as a child so I was familiar with it. I worked in a bar. It wasn’t well paid but it was an amazing experience and lots of fun.
It was great a first as I was able to stay in the apartment but I had to leave in season when they had guests coming over. I moved into a flat but it was horrible, it had cockroaches and one night I called my dad at 2am because there was a lizard in my room and I couldn’t go to sleep. He just said ‘it won’t hurt you and it’ll probably help with the cockroaches’!
When I came home I temped for a bit and spent a while in the Environmental Health team at Havering Council. I really liked that as we dealt with lots of different things and had a variety of calls.
How did you end up in the NHS?
I temped as a PA at St George Hospital, Hornchurch, for what was Havering Primary Care Trust. Then I was keen to get a permanent job as I wanted to get a mortgage.
I got one as an executive PA but in a reshuffle they wanted to downgrade us from band 5 to band 4. We had to reapply for our own roles, or we could apply for other posts. I applied to be a commissioning assistant in children’s services. That was interesting as I was co-located with social services and sat on panels looking at funding requests.
When PCTs were abolished our team was transferred to NELFT. I’ve also been a business manager in a clinical commissioning group (CCG), and primary care improvement lead.
I’ve been about the NHS a bit! It’s been 14 years but this is my first role in an acute trust. It’s totally different from primary care. CCGs are small in comparison and you know everyone. Here, it’s huge and there’s always something going on. There are lots of different services so sometimes it can be hard to find the person you need to speak to, or to pin them down!
What the best thing about your role here?
When I resolve an issue for a GP knowing it will ultimately help our patients, or simply get their appointment sorted out, and when I can help a practice resolve a problem, which both our Trust and primary care can learn from. Problem solving is what I’m good at.
I also love the fact that it’s such a varied role – I never know what to expect when I come in each morning.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
I love seeing my family and friends. My mum and dad live round the corner from me and I’m like the family PA – they’re technophobes so I’m always booking stuff and sorting out issues.
I’m lucky to have a really good network of friends; I see them as part of my family too. And I’m godmother to four girls aged from 14 right down to a one-year-old, who I see quite frequently, and I‘m an auntie to lots more! I love kids – it’s why I wanted to work with them.
I’m also a season ticket holder at Tottenham Football Club.
And our favourite question of In Conversation With… do you have any pets?
I’ve got a Shih Tzu, Roxy, who’s two. I planned to get a bigger breed then a friend’s dog had a litter, she was the smallest and I fell in love with her.
She’s mischievous and a bit stubborn and she doesn’t listen. I say I’ve got shared custody of her as she spends a lot of time at my parents’ while I’m at work, and they don’t like it when I take her home!