New online consultations launched and access extended to primary care
A priority for the programme is to provide sustainable primary care services and good progress has been made recently in improving access to primary care for patients and freeing up more time for GPs.
A new online consultation system is being piloted by 24 GP practices across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to improve access for patients and make the best use of clinicians’ time. Together We’re Better’s partners are working to make GP online consultations a reality for all, offering alternative options to patients and carers, whilst saving time and money in general practice.
Online consultations take approximately seven minutes for the patient to go through the process, and offer many benefits, such as the option for patients to review self-care options before submitting a request for consultation. The 24-hour system can be accessed via a practice’s website. More information is available here.
Patients across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are now also able to access primary care services for longer under a new NHS initiative. GPs are working together to offer extended opening hours for same day and pre-bookable appointments for an additional four hours per day until 8pm each week day and Saturday and Sunday mornings.
All practices must be able to direct patients to the service and offer a choice of evening or weekend appointments in the same way they offer core hours appointments. You can read more about this here.
In addition, more than 20 practices across North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have completed the national Productive General Practice (PGP) Quick Start programme; designed to help practices release more time to care for patients – more information about PGP, including a helpful video is available here.
Finally, with regards to the EPCC programme’s ongoing work on the future of Community Hospitals in the south of the county, discussions are ongoing with the recently formed University Hospitals of Derby and Burton Foundation Trust in terms of the options for both Samuel Johnson in Lichfield and Sir Robert Peel in Tamworth. This forms part of Together We’re Better’s draft scope of public engagement, which is due to get underway in spring 2019.