GP pilot scheme in Fareham hailed a success after first year

A GP scheme to help patients access same-day appointments and enable doctors to spend more time with complex cases is being extended to include a home-visiting service.

A pilot project which saw three Fareham practices work together to offer same-day appointments at Fareham Community Hospital has been hailed a success.

Following its first year the Fareham Primary Care Service, which is made up of the Highlands Practice, the Whiteley Surgery and Jubilee Surgery, will now offer a home visiting service.

Currently, the practices run a same-day access hub at the town’s hospital staffed by GPs, nurses, paramedic practitioners, a musculoskeletal specialist, practice nurse and a health care assistant.

Since it launched last September, the service has seen 36,000 patients.

Dr Tom Bertram, clinical lead for the project, said: ‘The three practices recognised there has been a vast increase in demand for same-day appointments over recent years.

This increase compromised our ability to provide continuity of high-quality care for those patients who need it the most, such as elderly patients and those with complex medical needs.

The Fareham Primary Care Service means if you have an urgent medical problem today, we aim to deal with it promptly and efficiently, while we hope our GPs back in practice will have more time to concentrate on complex issues and ongoing problems.’

Patients wanting same-day appointments phone their GP practice, and if they agree to their details being shared, they will then be called back in order of clinical priority.

After a detailed conversation with a nurse or GP, the patient is then given advice over the phone or offered an appointment.

Coinciding with its first-year anniversary, the service is now being extended to offer a home visiting option.

Patients who need a home visit call their practice as normal and if they meet the criteria for the new service then their details will be passed on to the team.

It is hoped visiting patients in their homes early in the day will reduce the likelihood of an overnight stay in hospital.