GPs working under a hospital-led new care model pilot have been able to refer all home visits to a dedicated team, freeing up practice time for routine work.
The South Hampshire multispecialty community provider (MCP), which is led by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, has dedicated a team including one GP and four district nurses to do all home visits.
Leaders behind the project, which was launched at the beginning of May, said this had freed up one hour a day for GPs working at seven branch surgeries, meaning they could offer an extra 202 appointments in a month.
Under the MCP scheme, set up under NHS England’s Five Year Forward View plan for the NHS, the team is able to complete home visits earlier on in the day, reducing pressure not just on GP services but also hospitals.
Dr Donal Collins, GP lead of the South Hampshire vanguard, told Pulse that the pilot programme is giving back one hour per day for GPs to do other work, accounting for the different ways GPs divide their time between home visits and other work.
He added that the GP, who was already employed by one of the GP practices within the vanguard, ‘had an interest in elderly care’ and is also available to take on other GP work outside home visiting hours of 9am and 2pm every weekday.
NHS Fareham and Gosport CCG chair Dr David Chilvers, who is a GP at one of the practices covered by the service, said it was ‘relieving pressure on GP practices’.
He said: ‘To have cut down on 202 appointments in just a month may not sound much, but it has potentially meant up to 157 less car journeys for GPs to have to go out and see a patient. That saving in time has been considerable.’
It comes as NHS England has said it would like GPs to do more urgent home visits to reduce A&E pressures. As revealed by Pulse in November, it recommended that CCGs fund this via new local enhanced services.