Over the last two years across Cheshire and Merseyside, over £45 million has been invested to transform primary care to make it more sustainable for the future. These figures are being released on the second anniversary of the launch of the General Practice Forward View (GPFV).
Published in April 2016, the GPFV committed an extra £2.4 billion a year to transform and get general practice back on its feet by 2020/21. Its focus was, and continues to be, to improve patient care and access and to invest in new ways of providing primary care.
Dr Dan Bunstone, Clinical Lead for the General Practice Forward View in Cheshire and Merseyside said: “Across Cheshire and Merseyside there is some tremendously positive work that is happening in general practice.
“From practices taking on clinical pharmacists and the first newly qualified physician associates, to those who are embracing technology, innovating and trailblazing to deliver the best care possible to their patients.”
- £6,125,000 has been invested so far by NHS England to make additional GP appointments available in Halton, Knowsley, South Cheshire, Vale Royal, Warrington and West Cheshire as part of a national drive to improve access to primary medical care services. A further investment of £3.34 million is planned to be invested in 2018 to extend similar services to Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Wirral and Southport and Formby
- Between 2016 and 2018 over £45 million has been spent on a range of initiatives that include schemes to support and increase the general practice workforce.
- There are now 56 clinical pharmacists working across Cheshire and Merseyside covering a population of 800,000 people.
Here's a local example of where this is working:
A GP practice in Warrington has transformed its workforce to better meet patients’ needs is being hailed a ‘practice of the future’ by local primary care leaders.
The changes introduced by Springfields Medical Centre in Warrington – including employing a clinical pharmacist and upskilling staff into specialist new roles to manage prescribing and patient care – are increasingly seen as the way forward for general practice.
The national General Practice Forward View, which was launched two years ago this month, set out the vision for an expanded workforce in general practice to help manage GP recruitment challenges and growing demand for health and care services.
Innovative new roles created by Springfields, and other practices, mean that patient journeys are now even quicker, patients have more dedicated services and GP time has been freed up to see patients with more complex needs and offer longer appointment slots when patients need them.
New roles such as GP Assistant and Healthcare Assistant deal with the practice admin and paperwork and take on some clinical duties such as taking bloods, giving vaccinations and blood pressure readings. They also help manage regular clinics such as diabetes and smoking cessation.
A clinical pharmacist reviews patient prescriptions and monitors medication for those on long-term conditions – a role previously carried out by GPs.
The practice also promotes Patient Online – more than one-third of its patients are registered for online services, including booking appointments and ordering repeat prescriptions – and, in line with the GP Forward View, offers evening and weekend appointments.
Springfields Practice Manager, Lorraine Stratulis, said: “By creating these new roles we have improved the care that our patients receive and have maximised staff retention by helping our team to achieve career goals and move forward with their employment in the medical profession”.
The changes have also enabled Assistant Practice Manager, Judith Southart to take on a new role of Care Co-ordinator, providing a new dedicated service to patients with end of life and palliative care. She oversees their medication and treatment, as well as offering daily support for patients and their families.
Dr Flora Kyriakou, GP at Springfields Medical Practice, said “The role of a GP is greatly under pressure due to increasing paperwork and patient needs. These new roles have helped a lot in our practice and I now feel able to concentrate my time on patient appointments and the care of those in need”.
Dr Bunstone added, “General practice is evolving and we are moving away from the traditional model of GPs and a practice nurse to a wider workforce that can offer a broader range of care options to patients.
“Springfields Medical Centre is an excellent example of a practice of the future and it’s the model that patients can increasingly expect to experience when they visit their surgery.”