Paramedic steps in for GP patient home visits

Paramedics are helping GPs with home visits Picture posed by models
Paramedics are helping GPs with home visits Picture posed by models
From left, Terence Rierkert, Matt Chapman, Steve Kramer, Dan Deeks, Theresa Newstead, Simon Freeman and Josh Roux
Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170948-1)

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PARAMEDICS are working with GP practices to offer more home visits to patients.

The pilot project, which is the first of its kind in the country, has seen South Central Ambulance Service join up with GP surgeries in the Waterlooville area.

A paramedic and a nurse practitioner from Scas have so far visited 500 patients at home under the pilot.

Its hoped patients at home will be seen earlier in the day and GPs will have to make fewer home calls.

Dr Duncan Pickup, partner at Vine Medical Group, said: ‘The message we were getting is that GPs felt pressured with time.

‘Scas said it was struggling with recruitment and 
retaining staff so we started to have talks about joined-up work.

‘We thought about ways we can both support staff but also improve care for patients so we came up with this partnership to have Scas staff carrying out some of our home visits.

‘That way, doctors have more time with complex patients and people needing home visits do not need to wait a long time.

‘For Scas, it means their paramedics could learn a new skill set and there is the possibility of progression.’

The project is part of a Better Local Care scheme in Hampshire.

Patients call the surgery and an on-call GP decides what to do based on their symptoms.

Patient Brian Wapshare, from Waterlooville, was visited by Diane Wilde, a nurse practitioner.

Brian’s wife and carer Maureen praised the project.

She said: ‘The service was absolutely fantastic. Previously it has been difficult getting a doctor to see us but we were able to get Diane out on the same day.

‘She was fantastic and not only was the medical side of the visit very good but she was looking at the inner person too.’

Diane added: ‘It has been quite different but it has been an exciting development.

‘We are kept busy during our shifts and it has helped ease up the GPs time.’

Diane added that she believes the scheme could be adopted by other areas outside of the pilot.

‘It could be used in other areas and tailored to each GP practice group,’ she said.