Episode 10: Dr Nikki Kanani | Jan 2019

Happy New Year! We start this one BIG! Thanks for tuning in!

In this first episode of 2019, I talk to inspiring GP Dr Nikki Kanani, Primary Care Director for NHS England about her roles.

This is a really interesting one, we cover how she got the role, to her biggest challenges. We talk about how she balances a leadership position with being a GP; seeing frontline everyday frustrations whilst trying to make change in a big organisation. We also delve into what it's like for her being a woman and parent in a leadership position and what advice she has for colleagues. 

We had recorded just prior to the publication of the NHS Long term plan, and although she couldn't mention it in our conversation directly, we do get a sense of her role in this. We also talk around the workforce, the future of primary care and how we massively need peer support and to break barriers between primary and secondary care. Nikki speaks of inspires her and the really interesting STEMM sisters enterprise she co-created with her sister, astrophysicist Dr Sheila Kanani. 







Above - Nikki's "inverted commas" - as promised after some prolific use. 


*Note - We recorded this before the NHS Long Term Plan was published so Nikki mentioned £3.5bn for Primary care in the NHS Long term Plan - in actual fact its £4.5bn*

Check out the shownotes and links below for an immersive experience, and don't forget to  reflect on what you've heard to use for your appraisal!

Big take home points for me:

- Embrace the chaos. It's not work-life balance, it's getting the right level of work-life chaos for you. 

- Important if you are a clinical leader to be as close to "front-line" as you can be - job is one way, but listening to colleagues' problems is another. 

- Lots of ways to get into "Leadership" - not necessarily a 'fad' or fancy thing.

- Get a coach. Get a mentor. Do this for others (if you can!)

- Read stuff! see links in resources at the bottom of the page






Nikki’s roles - 00:50


What is the Director of Primary Care at NHS England - 01:36

What is the role - a strong Clinical voice around what happens/needs to happen in Primary care


Toughest thing about this role 03:00


How do you manage competing priorities/things that need to change - in a big organisation where change is slow. How do you lobby for Primary Care within the whole piece of NHS England? 04:50


Talked about securing extra funding into Primary Care, negotiating new GP contract, Partnership review - 07:05


How Nikki got into NHS England Role - 08:50


Women in Leadership roles- Nikki’s experiences - 13:00

Being a parent. 

Not work life balance, work life chaos, embrace it!


How do we factor in the non-measurable stuff we do. How do we avoid over-obsession with data? (Link to article) - 24:15


Picking yourself up, being in the limelight, criticised - 28: 30

Balancing frontline commitment with this role


Peer support, Primary Care Networks- Nikki blog - 33:10


“Leadership” - Is it just a fancy word. What advice for people who are interested in this? 39:00

Next Gen


Nikki on how primary care will change , NHS long term plan - 42:30


STEMM Sisters - 47:40

Sisters book about Michelle Obama

Who inspires her?


Wrap up 51:45

Resources we chatted about:

NHS England Long term plan

Obsession with Data - Forbes article - "We are not a Dashboard"

Nikki's sister's book - The extra-ordinary life of Michelle Obama 

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Oprah's new book


Also check out Next Gen GP if you are interested in Leadership

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