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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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Workington GPs to pilot scheme to improve patient care

Longer GP opening hours will cut around 100 visits to A&E, doctors have claimed, as part of a new £500,000 scheme.

The five Workington practices taking part in the scheme have been revealed, with health officials saying the extended opening hours will allow more people to be seen and reduce emergency hospital admissions by around 100.

The practices will operate an 8am to 8pm, seven day a week centre in Workington hospital after the town was one of seven chosen to pilot the new scheme in the north west.

The five – James Street Group, Oxford Street, Orchard House, Solway Health Services and Beechwood Group practices – will create a primary care access centre in the hospital and believe it should reduce the number of people going to A&E in Carlisle and Whitehaven.

“It is part of a project to redesign and modernise health services within the town to provide more sustainable and higher quality care,” a spokeswoman for the NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said.

“The GPs believe the new way of working will avoid 100 emergency ambulance journeys.”

The centre will also offer specialist nursing support for care homes and people with long-term conditions such as diabetes, which officials say should also help reduce hospital admissions.

NHS Cumbria CCG’s Lead GP for Allerdale, Dr Niall McGreevy, said it was “great news for patients in Workington.

“The five GP practices who serve 33,900 people in Workington and surrounding villages have worked closely together to develop this new way of working to improve access to GP services for patients.

“The centre will offer same-day urgent appointments and minor injuries care. In parallel, we will be implementing a new way for improving long term conditions management, working with Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Adult Social Care to integrate community, primary and social care. This will create Cumbria’s first Primary Healthcare community and will be a blueprint for the development of this kind of care across Cumbria.”

He said the scheme should help them develop a ‘one team’ approach.

Michael Hutt, chief operating officer for Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said it was a “fantastic” opportunity.

“[This is the chance] for Workington GPs and our trust to lead the way in using an integrated approach to reduce the burden on accident and emergency units and to enable patients to get the right kind of care quickly,” he said.

The Workington project is one of 20 pilots across England to get funding to test new ways of improving access to GPs.

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