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GP networks will create 100,000 extra appointments in Gloucestershire

GP practices in Gloucestershire will be able to provide 100,000 more appointments by working together as part of primary care networks, NHS England has claimed.

The 75 practices working within 16 primary care networks will be able to provide the extra GP and nurse appointments by employing clinical pharmacists, paramedics, mental health workers and physiotherapists to free up time, it said.

Primary care networks are the new focus of the five-year GP contract, released last week. They must cover all patients and much of the new and some existing funding will be funneled through them into practices.

NHS England said paramedics are working with some networks to carry out home visits in the community, which will save GPs around 120 visits a month, while physiotherapists are working with others to offer more than 180 appointments.

There are also more than 40 clinical pharmacists working in practices to give expert medication advice and three mental health practitioners, who can see around 65 patients a week.

The ‘strong partnership’ between the networks will mean more patients can be treated closer to home and fewer will need hospital treatment, NHS England said.

Tewkesbury GP Dr Jeremy Welch said introducing different skill mixes is ‘excellent for patients’ and means a variety of services will be available.

He added: ‘The feedback from patients and staff has been extremely pleasing and we are encouraged to keep developing the offer we are able to provide to our patients.

‘We are in exciting times and it really feels like a team effort to support our patients’.

NHS England’s acting medical director for primary care and GP Dr Nikki Kanani said: ‘Patients want to get an appointment as quickly as possible when they contact their GP surgery and it is great news that in Gloucestershire there are now many more appointments available.

‘Also a mixed team of health professionals including nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists or paramedics means patients can be seen quicker by the right health professionals for their needs, freeing up time for GPs to see the most complex patients.’

Last month, NHS England reported a primary care network pilot in Luton saved 3,000 appointments and £50,000.

Readers' comments (12)

  • We have ECPs helping with visits and Pharmacists helping with some of the soul-destroying piles of admin dumped from secondary care but this is simply work we are already doing, it is not new work and more appointments.

    Also, I thought NHSE don't keep data on primary care so how do they come up with this unicorn-like figure?

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  • Remember Only Fools and Horses,'smell that Rodney, is it sheep's chicken no its complete B***s***.

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  • National Hopeless Service

    Did they look into the same crystal ball suggesting 5000 extra GPs by 2020? Is so that means 90,000 less appointments.

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  • How many appointments could be freed up if NHS England stopped dumping crap on GPs?

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  • I’m always puzzled by the way they think by having all these extra services will make more appointments available. It just means they will fuel demand. The work will if anything be more difficult because the routine stuff is creamed off by noctors.

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  • Bob Hodges

    We are not ignorant to the concept of supply lead demand here in Glocuestershire.

    If like you, we do nothing, we'll all continue to experience the same year on year demand increase that people us to simply meet with existing resources and capacity. Supply lead demand pales into insignificance besides this problem.

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  • Are not these the same fools who thought there would be 5000 more GPs ,well they are an extension of government after all.

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  • Bob Hodges

    No. Like you we never thought there there would be 5000 more GPs.

    Unlike you we got off our arses at the earliest opportunity and actually DID something.

    We've had PCNs for 2 years. We have physios, paramedics, frailty nurses and mental health workers in practices. We'd like more, so we'll have more. No one idea is a silver bullet, but they all add up to something significant.

    The number of GPs in Gloucestershire is actually going up, and number of vacancies going down. Funny what a bit of strategic 'naive wishful thinking' will do eh?

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  • Hi Bob, how do you pay all your extra staff, with no increase in budget, without reducing the GP salary below the national minimum wage ?
    And how do you ensure clinical safety standards to GMC satisfaction for the work done by noctors?

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  • Bob Hodges

    Who say we haven't had an increase in budget? We have, but all we've done is apply for funding available to all.

    We have also worked out that 'noctors' are not a direct replacement for GPs, they are 'force multipliers' and utterly invaluable as part of a 'team' where different people have different roles.

    I've never met a GP that spent the majority of their day doing things only a PP could have done. I doubt you have either.

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  • We use paramedics and nurse led triage and home visiting. We have minor illness hubs and minor injuries units, we have OOH GP and 111. We have community pharmacists. The only easily recruitable AHP are pharmacists and we don't need any more of them. Networks in our areas will have negligible effect, except to suck up more headspace and distract already over burdened key clinicians. Anyone want to bet another topdown revolutionary reform with be here in 12-18 months?

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  • Oh yes, acute physio assessment is nice to have but routine physio is now a 6 month wait! Remember in a system working beyond capacity, any change is at the cost of something else....

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