A PILOT scheme will offer fast-track GP home visits for patients who could be at risk of needing hospital care.
The new Home Visiting Service will start next month and serve people living in south east Hampshire.
It is hoped the 16-month project will help relieve pressure on hard-pressed GP practices and Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
A similar scheme in Portsmouth has been running for more than a year.
A meeting of the governing body for Fareham and Gosport and south eastern Hampshire clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) approved the scheme and agreed to award the contract to the Southern Hampshire Primary Care Alliance, which represents GPs across both areas.
Dr David Chilvers, chairman of Fareham and Gosport CCG, said: ‘Home visits will continue to be an important part of a GP’s work, particularly for continuity of care.
‘But it obviously takes time for practice-based GPs to drive to visit patients at a time when many practices are under a big strain.
‘This service means clinicians from the Home Visiting Service, and it could be a specialist nurse rather than a GP, would visit patients with an acute need and potentially spend a bit more time with them than a GP in surgery would be able to.
‘They would be able to get to someone’s home much earlier in the day, as they will be a dedicated service.
‘That could be the difference between a patient having to go to hospital or not.
‘At present, if a patient arrives at hospital late in the afternoon there is a high chance they might have to stay in overnight until the right specialist is available to see them – further increasing pressure on the availability of beds at QA.’
Details of the service have not yet been finalised, but it would involve the Southern Hampshire Primary Care Alliance working in partnership with the out-of-hours provider PHL and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.
A pool of clinical staff, led by GPs, would see other healthcare professionals visiting patients who contact their surgeries requiring home visits.
GPs practices will still continue to do home visits with patients – but where appropriate to do so, will refer some patients to the new service.