Starting at the Beginning

Samantha Horwill
October 17, 2020

Yma was incorporated on the 18th March 2020. This created a legal entity through which to create the conditions where primary care in Wales thrives.

The formal incorporation of the company was the final step in a process that started in 2016 when Practice Unbound was first invited to deliver the Workflow blended learning programme to clusters across the (then) Cwm Taf University Health Board. Over the subsequent four years, as relationships across Wales developed, my understanding of the system in Wales deepened and more and more practices gained access to the benefits of these learning programmes, it became clear to me that there was a need for a Welsh organisation, in service to Welsh communities.

As Practice Unbound’s Managing Director in Wales, I started to explore the possibilities of creating an independent organisation with members of the primary care community. In May 2019, the first of two residential sessions took place with the aim of sensing into the environment that primary care exists in, exploring what purpose this kind of organisation might be tethered to and defining some of the things that matter in achieving that purpose.

It was at this point that the role of a new, not for profit, social enterprise, in service to primary care in Wales started to show itself. In the months that followed I continued to explore the ideas and possibilities with people across the NHS in Wales, and following a second gathering in the autumn of 2019, I took the decision along with a small group of Welsh GPs and the support of the Here and Practice Unbound team, that Yma should be brought to life as a separate company.

…in the autumn of 2019, I took the decision along with a small group of Welsh GPs and the support of the Here and Practice Unbound team, that Yma should be brought to life as a separate company.

Over the winter of 2019/20 I worked with colleagues at Here to agree a financial framework that would enable the creation of the new organisation; and built on the experience of setting up the social enterprise in Brighton 15 years before to establish a governance structure that was fit for purpose. In parallel, work was ongoing to understand the work that Yma would do in its first year and the capability and capacity required to deliver this.

In December 2019 I started working with Swansea University Medical School to support the delivery of the Primary Care Academy across Mid and West Wales; and this would go on to be a fundamental part of Yma’s story in 2020. At a similar time, conversations with Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and the National Diabetes Team enabled the opportunity to connect Practice Unbound’s Workflow and Group Consultation learning  programmes to improved Diabetes care; and this too would be one of the key work areas for Yma as the year progressed. These two workstreams along with ongoing support of the 190 practices across Wales with access to the Practice Unbound products, played a key part in setting the scene for the new business prior to incorporation.

However, as the reality of COVID began to emerge in February 2020, final efforts were being made to conclude the due diligence around the new company, and it was not without some trepidation that the final documents were submitted to Companies House in March.

And so my journey started as Co-founder and Managing Director of Yma, just as the UK went into national lockdown. It would be tempting to have the pandemic define Yma’s emergence and work in 2020, and I hope that the next chapters of our story will show how we were able to continue to do good work, in spite of the often catastrophic impact the virus has had on our lives.

I would also like to extend gratitude to everyone who enabled Yma to come into being this year. This was made possible by the vision and commitment of my GP co-founders, by the support of Here as fellow company directors; and the trust of the people who worked with me during the transition for their belief in me and the possibility of this new venture.

Dyma ni.

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