A GP scheme to help patients access same-day appointments and also enable doctors to spend more time with complex cases is being extended to include a home-visiting service.
The Fareham Primary Care Service (FPCS) brought together GPs from three practices to offer same-day appointments in Fareham Community Hospital. The hub is staffed by GPs, nurses, paramedic practitioners, musculoskeletal specialist, practice nurse and a health care assistant.
Since it launched on September 20 last year, the service has seen 36,000 patients. The three practices involved are The Highlands Practice, the Whiteley Surgery and Jubilee Surgery.
Dr Tom Bertram, clinical lead for the project, said: “The three practices recognised there has been a vast increase in demand for same day appointments over recent years.
“This increase compromised our ability to provide continuity of high quality care for those patients who need it the most, such as elderly patients and those with complex medical needs.
“The FPCS means if you have an urgent medical problem today, we aim to deal with it promptly and efficiently, while we hope our GPs back in practice will have more time to concentrate on complex issues and ongoing problems.
“For example, at Jubilee Surgery we have been able to introduce 15 minute GP appointments which our patients value and which have been shown to improve outcomes.”
Patients wanting urgent same-day appointments phone their GP practice, and if they agree to their details being shared with the service, they will then be called back in order of clinical priority with a nurse/GP having a detailed conversation with them. This may result in the patient being given advice over the phone or offered an appointment.
This has enabled GPs to extend time with each patient with planned appointments, reviewing medication and looking at hospital discharge information in a timely manner.
And coinciding with its first-year anniversary, the service is now being extended to offer a home visiting option.
Patients who need a home visit should contact their practice as normal and if they meet the criteria for the new service then their details will be passed on to the team.
It is hoped by visiting patients in their homes early in the day will reduce the likelihood of an overnight stay in hospital, should they need to be referred for an assessment, as they will be seen sooner.