GP PRACTICES stretched to breaking point could work in partnership with a community health trust in a pioneering project.
Three practices in Gosport are in talks with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust in a bid to ease mounting pressures facing doctors in the town.
What we want to do is bring the experts of the surgeries together with our experts to think how we can best meet the needs of patients in Gosport.Gethin Hughes
Forton Medical Centre has already formed the partnership with Southern Health and Brune Medical Centre, Waterside Medical Centre and Stoke Road Medical Centre are also in talks to team up.
The new scheme looks to provide extra nurses, physiotherapists and mental health practitioners to provide patients with better care and give them access to the right professional sooner.
Dr Stuart Morgan, from Brune Medical Centre, said the partnership was key to the practice which has become ‘unsustainable.’
‘For the last three years, we have been finding it difficult to cope with the increase in patients and a lack of GP recruitment,’ he said.
‘There is a crisis generally in workload for GPs in the NHS but Gosport is a problem area in terms of the number of doctors compared to the number of patients.
‘Our workload has become unsustainable and we are at breaking point. We cannot cope.’
Dr Morgan said although the practice is facing difficulty, it will remain open and patients will continue to get the care they need.
He added the partnership with Southern Health will a create a sustainable service.
The partnership will see Southern Health redistribute money set aside in the trust to bring in the extra clinicians costing on average between £40,000 and £50,000 per professional – less than the cost of hiring a new GP.
Gethin Hughes, director of services at Southern Health, said: ‘This is about a partnership and not a takeover.
‘What we want to do is bring the experts of the surgeries together with our experts to think how we can best meet the needs of patients in Gosport.
‘By working together we have been able to bring in extra mental health nurses, physiotherapists and GPs to bolster the existing workforce and provide more support.
‘We can make real changes to the way care is delivered in Gosport.’
Same-day access pilot hopes to improve care
IMPROVING patient care in Gosport has been part of a Better Local Care scheme.
The project involves a pilot scheme to offer same-day access service to patients of four surgeries.
It is part of NHS England setting up new models of care.
Using Gosport War Memorial as a hub, the same-day access service aims to make it easier for people to receive consultations with a GP, nurse or relevant healthcare professional.
So far, more than 5,000 patients have benefitted since the scheme launched in December. It provides both same-day phone triage and face-to-face appointments
It involves GP practices in Mumby Road, Stoke Road, Rowner Road and at Whites Place. All of the surgeries have reported that they are finding extra time for routine appointments.
Dr Donal Collins, who chairs the Locality Board, which includes all 11 Gosport practices, said: ‘At the outset of this scheme, we said it gave us a real chance not just to sustain access to our services, but also to improve them. And that is what appears to be happening.
‘It’s still early days yet and we are continually fine-tuning and making adjustments and improvements where we can, but the initial indications are very encouraging.’
The pilot will continue for another six months.