When Dr Jonathan Grant Cope and his team at Beacon Medical Practice in Devon first considered offering dermatology and musculoskeletal GP-led clinics, which are normally hosted by secondary care, they only expected to reduce the number of hospital referrals by a third.
Instead, by giving patients the opportunity to see their own GP in a familiar setting within two to four weeks, the clinics resulted in 70-80% fewer patients needing a referral to secondary care.
Spearheading initiatives that offer patients this high level of care, while also saving money and giving clinicians the chance to have a portfolio career are just a few of the reasons why Dr Cope was awarded the Pulse prize for GP of the Year at this year’s General Practice Awards.
Over the last two years, Dr Cope has managed the merging of three practices with 19 partners into a super practice, earning the trust of each to implement initiatives like the GP-led clinics and Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund interventions.
The Beacon Medical Practice used the fund to begin reaching out to vulnerable COPD patients over the telephone, leading to dramatically fewer avoidable admissions to hospital.
During that time, Dr Cope also organised and launched an urgent care team made up of advanced paramedic practitioners, clinical pharmacists and nurse practitioners working alongside GPs to increase the practice’s on-the-day appointment availability.
Dr Cope has also proven himself to be a driving force behind the Beacon Medical Centre as a test site for the ‘primary care home’ model.
Similar in style to NHS England’s multispecialty community provider but led by the National Association of Primary Care, Dr Cope has encouraged the other partners to collaborate and establish strong relationships across the health and social care system in Devon.
After winning his award Dr Cope thanked the ‘fantastic team of managers, clinicians and allied health professionals’ at the practice, adding that he was ‘overwhelmed with receiving this award’.
He said: ‘We have all pulled together in the same direction over the last two years to make wonderful things happen. It’s important to recognise all the hard work everyone’s done in the practice.
‘We’ve got a fantastic new management team. A lot of them are new to the NHS and they’ve done some really cool stuff – it’s just a really exciting place to be.’
Claire Oatway, chief operating officer at Beacon Medical Group, added: ‘I am so proud of the Beacon Medical Group “family” – everyone has been a winner in my eyes. But most of all, Jonathan really deserved to walk away as the shining star of the night and I’m so pleased to be working with such an inspirational doctor.’