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At the heart of general practice since 1960

33. Dr John Ribchester

Steven’s poster boy

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This Kent GP could well have been created by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens himself.

As the executive and senior partner for the forward-thinking Whitstable Medical Practice, Dr John Ribchester is the poster boy for NHS England’s plans for practices to expand and provide a much wider spectrum of care.

The large practice already runs a minor injury unit, diagnostics services and outpatient clinics in orthopaedics, gynaecology, general surgery and urology, as well as a consultant-led pain clinic. But Dr Ribchester and his 17 partners have even greater ambitions.

This year, the practice was chosen to become a ‘multispecialty community provider’ vanguard, receiving a share of the £200m pot of funding set aside by NHS England to implement its Five Year Forward View.

The ‘super-practice’ (as he calls it) is set to comprise 17 practices and 125 GPs, covering a total population of 160,000 patients. GPs with special interest also provide clinics in cardiology, dermatology and epilepsy management and there are plans to run a care home and discharge services.

In the past 12 months, he says the practice has set up a ‘practice-based community DVT service, and a community paramedic practitioner pilot, both of which are providing high-quality service and an enhanced patient experience, closer to home’.

Dr Ribchester also sits on a GP advisory board to health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

He says he expects to be even busier next year. ‘I thought I was very busy prior to the vanguard, but now it is clear that I wasn’t.’

Projects coming to fruition this year include ‘developing GP teams to include other health and social care professionals, extending GP opening hours into the weekends, moving more secondary care service into the community and developing health and social care campuses’.

He is going to be a busy man.

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