Four thousand patients will receive quicker – and more wide-ranging – care thanks to a ground-breaking system.

A new Elderly Care project has been introduced in Maryport on the back of the controversial decision to remove beds from the town’s community hospital in April last year.

It will target those over-65, looking at their needs, both mental and physical.

There will be a dedicated team who aim to have all of the information required about a patient.

Care co-ordinator Allison Blair said: “That should mean that they receive quicker care.

“If an elderly patient visits the doctor all the information about them should be available in one place. Patients will not be asked a lot of questions they have already been asked before.”

But the new programme targets more than just physical health.

Mrs Blair visits patients in their own home.

“We look at everything possible,” she said.

“We address their health needs. We look at their environment to see if it is suitable – have they got bannisters, for instance, do they have fire alarms and so on.”

She said they ask about a number of issues, including the patient’s vision and mental wellbeing.

Mrs Blair added: “We check on how they are managing at home – can they bathe, dress themselves, cook and so on.”

The new service is being run out of Maryport Health Services and headed by Dr Jenny Calvert, with support coming from the surgery’s paramedic practitioners, Jacqui Wilson and Diane Watson.

The team will also be working with other health and care groups.

Patients are “flagged up” if they have attended the surgery or have been hospitalised.

Some are referred by the GPs but Mrs Blair said people can also self refer by calling the Maryport surgery.