A NEW service offering people same-day appointments at a community hospital dealt with 60 patients in the first three hours of operation.
The same-day access service, at Fareham Community Hospital, launched earlier this month with four of the town’s 10 GP practices signing up.
It’s very exciting to see the hub in action.Dr Tom Bertram
Following on from the success of the Gosport service, the scheme offers urgent appointments to patients who want to see a health professional on the same day.
But while the service has been welcomed by many people in Fareham, others have criticised it, saying they would rather have a same-day appointment at their practice than at the hospital in Sarisbury Green.
Dr Tom Bertram is a Titchfield GP and clinical lead for the project, which has been funded by the Better Local Care initiative.
He said: ‘A great deal of hard work has gone into planning for the opening and I would particularly like to thank the management team for its hard work and meticulous planning.
‘It’s very exciting to see the hub in action. It’s all gone very smoothly and calmly. I’d also like to thank everyone at the community hospital for getting the room, IT, and everything else in place.
‘They have done a fantastic job – and it is patients who will benefit.’
Highlands Practice, Jubilee Surgery and Whiteley Surgery are taking part in the service with Stubbington Medical Practice joining from January 2.
Routine appointments at the GP practices are not affected, and will continue as before.
But some patients said the new process was confusing and more information should be available.
A 76-year-old Fareham resident, who is with Highlands Practice, said: ‘If I want a same-day appointment, I want to be able to go to my practice. It is within walking distance for me and I would have no other way to get to Fareham Community Hospital.
‘I understand it can be busy but then something should be done about that rather than just sending people elsewhere.’
Fareham councillor Peter Davies said he had heard concerns from several residents. In his newsletter, he said: ‘I welcome the greater opportunity to get same-day advice and the extended hours offered.
‘But Coldeast is a difficult place to get to. This is a trial for six months, so residents can let me know how they find this new approach and I’ll let the surgery know.’
The Fareham same-day access service is being run along similar lines to the service at Gosport War Memorial Hospital which launched in 2015.
Around 60 per cent of patients initially seeking a GP appointment have had their issue resolved on the same day through non face-to-face contact.