Spotlight on GP Servcies
Julie Sands, Head of Primary Care North West London, NHS England, was guest speaker at the May 2015 meeting of The Community Voice, of which we are a member. Her address included:
a. Primary Care NHS England has a statutory duty to work with local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to provide the best care for patients.
b. Primary Care North West London serves a population of 1.9 million people, and is responsible for 8 CCGs - Brent, Central London, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and West London - with a total of 400 contracts. GP practices work with the CCGs to provide Primary Care for the local population.
c. Formerly GP contracts required only core services - treatment of sick people, chronically ill patients, the terminally
ill, and services such as cervical and other screening programmes.
d. However, nationally in 2015-2016 GP practices are expected to provide the following services:
Childhood immunisations, ‘flu and pneumonia vaccinations.
Diagnosis & support of dementia patients, including care plans – a government drive for early diagnosis of
dementia provides GPs with clinical "tools" and training in diagnosing dementia.
Health checks for those with learning disabilities.
- GPs should:
Avoid unplanned admissions and be proactive in the care of vulnerable people by helping them to care for themselves.
Meet the reasonable needs of their patients for home visits, nurse appointments, appointments to see a GP on the day requested, and to make appointments for a particular GP in advance.
- GPs will also be encouraged to extend the opening hours of their practices, possibly achieved by forming a network with other local practices to improve opening hours and weekend surgeries.
Additions to GPs’ 2015-16 contracts include:
Every patient, including children, should have a named GP taking responsibility for that patient.
By 31st March 2016, GP practices must publish on internet the number of full and part time GPs in 2014-15 in their practice, and their average net earnings, including contracted / salaried GPs.
Extended online patient access to services, including medical records, and appointment booking - pilot schemes already use Skype and emails to set up patients’ appointments.CCGs, as commissioners, must receive and assess the plans of each practice for out of hours services. If not satisfied, the CCG can nominate an Out of Hours Practitioner for that practice.
A Patient Participation Group (PPG) should be set up in each practice to discuss benefits for the patients and to make improvements to the practice.
- NHS England will review GP practices at the end of 2015-2016, with action if necessary.
The speaker then invited questions. Audience members expressed their concerns about GP services and posed many questions, leading to the following comments from the speaker:
Some GP practices were good and some not so good. Single GP practices, which cannot provide all the services required, are being encouraged to see the benefits of working in a larger organisation, but as each GP surgery has its own contract it is difficult to fulfil this.
Many GPs do not wish to merge or work within networks and many are coming up for retirement.
More surgeries are needed because of more people, but land is not always available. This is a National problem. Health Education England is working with CCGs to try to address the problem. GPs are to be given more training in diagnosing dementia and each GP practice should have a specialist in psychiatric problems, either a doctor or a nurse practitioner.
The Speaker was thanked by James Kincaid, followed by resounding applause from the audience.