GP practices free up 3,000 extra patient appointments through Primary Care Network
GP practices in Luton have worked together to provide more than 3,000 extra appointments a year including halving the number of appointments lost due to patient non-attendance.
As well as freeing up appointments, the Primary Care Network (PCNs) model has led to friends and family satisfaction with services being positive nine times out of ten, while complaints have fallen by 12 per cent and £50,000 has been saved.
To achieve this, the GPs made a number of changes including altering the types of healthcare professionals in the practice, offering alternative appointments where appropriate and introducing long term conditions clinics.
PCNs are one of the new national approaches unveiled in the NHS’ long term plan this week.
Three years ago the Luton practice had four GP partners retire but now it is growing and attracting more GPs while the patient list has increased by 1,500.
A new video from NHS England today shows Luton patients benefitting from the PCN as part of the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System.
In Luton’s PCN, groups of GP practices pool their skills and resources to provide patients with access to more health professionals including GPs, pharmacists, paramedics, physicians associates and specialist doctors.
They can treat patients for a wide range of illnesses, ensuring they see the right person from the start and freeing up the GPs to spend more time with patients who have complex needs.
Dr Nina Pearson, GP at Luton’s Lea Vale Medical Group and GP lead for Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System, said: “General Practice is under pressure, so we’re having to think creatively. Here in Luton, practices have been working together in groups covering 30,000 to 70,000 patients. Services such as community services, social care, and mental health are aligned and the practices themselves have been looking at how they can staff differently.
“We now have a workforce that can see hope. They can see a possibility of working differently and being able to be in charge of their own destiny and to manage their workload. I would encourage everyone to start to work together with your neighbouring practices and really work as a team to deliver the needs of that population. It’s very satisfying and has absolutely brought back the joy of working in general practice.”
One patient, Alexandra, had stomach problems, headaches and hot sweats and was needing weekly appointments with her GP.
When she moved to an area with a PCN she saw a paramedic at her GP surgery who was able to spend time with her, help her to identify the cause of her problems and refer her onto some local help groups for problems with anxiety.
She said: “I was put in touch with a paramedic within the surgery, and he had all the time in the world for me. I just sort of had that light bulb moment in my head where – I thought actually, yes, it made sense.
“It feels so different from before. My GP is amazing. He’s more than happy to have as much time as I need to talk through whatever I need to talk to. He’s so supportive. I’ve been referred to Total Wellbeing in Luton which is run by the NHS and the council. I’ve also been referred to a Women’s Wellbeing Centre – which is run by local volunteers – so I’m getting help from every angle.”
Paramedic John Kirkby, at Lea Vale Medical Group, said: “I think people are surprised to find a paramedic in GP Practice – I’ve been at this particular practice for about two years now – and I’ve just been made a partner. We are very good at dealing with acute medicine, and we’re able to give antibiotics out, we’re able to treat common things that happen commonly. Often patients come in with multiple issues and if there’s multiple issues we can treat some of them but then signpost them to the appropriate clinician within the team we work in.”
Heidi Newton, managing partner at Lea Vale Medical Group, said: “We brought in paramedics, who are excellent on emergency care, acute, children – we brought in pharmacy because obviously the more complex a patient gets, the more complex medication they’re going to have – and then we looked at the new professions. So we’ve now brought in physician’s associates.”
Across the NHS, 14 Integrated Care Systems (ICS) are seeing NHS and local government join forces to pool resources and budgets and simplify systems for the patient across primary and secondary care.
Latest News from
National Heroes Service: GPs told ‘our veterans need you’20/05/2019 14:15:00
NHS chiefs have urged family doctors to enlist in a scheme improving care for thousands of armed forces veterans and their families.
NHS England to fund first ever treatment for children with rare muscle-wasting condition16/05/2019 09:15:00
NHS England will provide a promising new treatment which can prolong the lives of children with a rare genetic condition after negotiating a deal with the manufacturer.
NHS funds tech to protect prostate cancer patients during radiation treatment14/05/2019 09:15:00
An innovation that can reduce the side-effects of radiotherapy for prostate cancer patients by over 70 per cent will be rolled out across the NHS, as part of the Long Term Plan to put cutting-edge treatments at the heart of people’s care.
Army of NHS experts brought in to care homes to tackle over-medication13/05/2019 09:15:00
An army of experts have been recruited by NHS England to help prevent care home residents being given too many medicines as part of a package of measures to improve older people’s health and care in the NHS Long Term Plan.
NHS England strikes deal to make innovative Multiple Sclerosis drug available, paving the way for NICE recommendation09/05/2019 15:47:00
Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) will have routine access to a drug that can slow disability under a deal struck between NHS England and the manufacturer Roche, paving the way for its approval by NICE.
NHS England funds £2million to boost system-wide leadership development09/05/2019 09:15:00
NHS England has funded a £2million programme to help 23 areas kick-start or boost leadership development activities to support and inspire workforce in health systems across England from GPs, consultants and therapists to nurses, social workers and managers.
NHS funds handheld headache-busting device as part of Long Term Plan08/05/2019 09:15:00
A device that can zap away excruciating headaches is to receive NHS England funding from a scheme that helps to spread the use of world-leading technology across the health service.
NHS Stroke action will save hundreds of lives07/05/2019 15:38:00
A new £9 million programme to spot heart conditions earlier will save at least 200 lives and offer protection to thousands more, NHS England announced today.
NHS Long Term Plan to give mums the ‘Royal Treatment’, as 14,000 choose home birth07/05/2019 13:15:00
Almost 14,000 families have opted for a home birth in a single year, which might include the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as mothers-to-be are offered greater choice over the care they receive thanks to the NHS Long Term Plan.