Each winter there is huge speculation about whether the NHS will be able to cope with increased demand.
Locally people are concerned that urgent and emergency services at Queen Alexandra ‘require improvement’ according to the Care Quality Commission.
That’s why the government responded by making £400 million available to the NHS specifically to help with winter pressures in 2015-16.
However, I believe that making the NHS truly sustainable necessitates a rethink of out-of-hospital care. That is why I welcome the Better Local Care initiative.
Here in Hampshire, a new Multi-speciality Community Provider (MCP) will partner GPs, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Hampshire County Council, the voluntary sector and local Clinical Commissioning Groups to create a bespoke local care model.
My constituency of Gosport is at the vanguard of these pioneering reforms, with a MCP Hub newly established at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.
This is formed of an extended team of GPs, nurses and specialists offering fast and straightforward access to a wider range of health care.
In November, Gosport GPs launched these same-day appointments at GWMH for patients from Waterside, Stoke Road, Brune, and Forton Medical Centres.
Patients call their practice as usual and the receptionist will take details and patients are then called back by a triaging clinician.
The clinician will identify the patient’s specific needs and then direct them to the most appropriate service provider.
This will enable patients to bypass unnecessary GP appointments and get the advice or treatment they need as soon as possible.
By integrating different healthcare providers into one centralised hub and listening to patients’ needs and concerns, it could cut GP waiting times, reduce hospital admissions and move people out of hospitals more quickly.
Most importantly, by ensuring high quality community care, it could radically improve the health, wellbeing and independence of people in our area.