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Partnership between GPs and hospitals ‘reduced face-to-face appointments by half’

A pilot partnership in Surrey between a federation of 18 GP practices and the Royal Surrey County Hospital, which focused on treating patients in their own home, has halved face-to-face appointments, it has been claimed.

In April last year, the Procare Health GP federation secured a bid to deliver adult community services across Guildford and Waverley.

The partnership between the federation and the hospital aims to link GPs to therapists and community nurses to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.

The pilot, which has seen patient treated in their own homes, has reduced face-to-face GP appointments by 50%.

Services by the joint venture includes district nursing, podiatry and rehabilitation beds and mainly covered patients in the Guildford and Waverley area of Surrey.

Following the initial set-up of the scheme, a community coordination centre was launched alongside a night response team and a physiotherapy advice line.

Procare chief executive officer Dr Phil Ridsdill Smith said: ‘In order to deliver more efficient care, the community physiotherapy team piloted an advice line service in several of the local practices, enabling patients to receive telephone physiotherapy advice within 48 hours.

‘This will significantly help improve availability for local NHS physiotherapy services, so the team have now been asked to roll this out to further practices in the Guildford and Waverley area.’

Royal Surrey County Hospital chief executive Louise Stead said: ‘Our community teams do a fantastic job and provide a wide range of care, from supporting patients to managing long-term conditions, to treating those who are seriously ill and with complex needs.

‘This sees teams of nurses and therapists working closely with other healthcare professionals, including GPs and social workers, to deliver care in peoples’ homes, as well as in the local community hospitals.

She added: ‘On this first anniversary I would like to recognise and thank all of our community teams for their dedication, commitment and hard work. You have become an integral part of the Royal Surrey family and the integration of services is having a really positive impact on the lives of our patients.’