HIGH-QUALITY care for those living with long-term illnesses will be available in Portsmouth next year.
An new care hub will be established in the city by spring 2019 to provide more specialised support for people living with conditions such as diabetes and respiratory illnesses.
Patients will be individually assessed and provided with all-round care for both their physical and mental wellbeing as well as supported to lead a healthier lifestyle with diet and exercise plans on offer. Specialists from the NHS and public health teams will also decide how often a check-up with them is required.
Currently it is thought that the scheme, which has been set up between NHS Portsmouth CCG, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Solent NHS Trust and Portsmouth City Council, will be available between three and four days a week depending on demand.
Dr Linda Collie, clinical leader for NHS Portsmouth CCG, explained why they hub was needed. 'We know that more and more people are living with long-term conditions, and that some of these people are frustrated that the care they receive might feel fragmented, or variable,' she said.
'Given that, we are keen to work with city partners to overhaul the way we support people with long-term illnesses. This includes a pilot scheme to test out whether bringing patients and staff together into a "hub" can give people a better service, which succeeds in keeping them healthier, and more independent.
'Our main ambitions for this trial are to give patients high quality care more consistently than now, to focus on people’s mental wellbeing as well as their physical health, and to get better at keeping patients well rather than just stepping in when they are sick.
'We are starting with a relatively small target group, but if this new approach delivers results we will seek to extend it to long-term condition patients across the whole city.'
The hub will initially involve surgeries under the Portsdown and East Shore practices in the city, although its location has not yet been finalised.
Patients involved will remain registered at their normal GP practice for more serious problems, but will go to the hub for support relating to their long-term condition.
The council's head of health, Cllr Matthew Winnington, added: 'I'm really keen that we look at patient care holistically, not only treating symptoms for people with long-term conditions but also helping them with their wellbeing overall.
'By helping people to look after their mental and emotional health as well as their physical health, the hub aims to keep people healthy rather than waiting to treat people once they are unwell.'
The cost of running the service is expected to be met from within existing resources and staff from GP surgeries.
As a pilot scheme there is scope for the project to expand in following years if it proves successful.
The hub will be discussed further at a health overview and scrutiny panel on Thursday.