Primary Care Quality Initiative
It is a sad fact that for many of our more vulnerable patients, an unplanned visit to A&E is not an end to the matter and many return more than once before their health is restored. In some cases, particularly for the elderly, this can signal deterioration in general health which can prove difficult to address. However, earlier diagnosis of conditions, better communication between health professionals and focused support for those affected can reduce the need to visit the hospital and in many instances remove it all together.
Your local GP practices have teamed up to consider how this can be achieved and the Primary Care Quality Initiative prepares the ground ahead of more detailed plans being introduced throughout 2014. The following initiatives are being considered:
- Named GPs: For those patients that require a greater level of care, they will be allocated a ‘named doctor’. This will not restrict who they can see but it will provide that extra bit of support and reassurance where needed.
- Improved Communication: Although your GP is usually the first point of contact, they are of course supported by a host of clinicians including nurses, hospitals, nursing homes, ambulance services and specialists, mostly not based The Heath and South Park Surgeries. We have considered how we might improve communication to ensure a more joined up approach to patient healthcare.
- Identifying those in need: All of us will be unwell from time to time but for some, poor health is a constant challenge, many patients facing a range of conditions at the same time. It is difficult to be precise but it is a fact that some of our patients need to visit hospital on a more regular basis. In some cases, this is obvious but we are also keen to identify those patients where the risk of this seems high. Prevention is generally better than cure as they say!
- Feedback: I hope you will agree that we put a fair deal of effort into our annual survey but many have commented that we should seek feedback on an on-going basis, at the point of contact. ‘Would you recommend The Heath and South Park Surgeries to your friends and family?’ was an excellent addition to this year’s survey, suggested by a patient and this will be asked more frequently. We will also use this opportunity to ask a second question "Are you aware you can order prescriptions online and where available book appointments" as this year’s survey highlighted a higher than expected number of patients were unaware of this service and we plan to promote this more widely over the next few months.
Over the past couple of months, GPs and staff have met to consider the above. The Heath and South Park GPs had already met twice to consider the issue ahead of a meeting with nine other local practices on Tuesday 18th February.
As mentioned above, the recent work has centred on preparation but I hope this further demonstrates our efforts to improve care and service to patients, in this instance, particularly the most vulnerable.