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Extended access scheme providing improved GP access for thousands of patients

Extended access scheme providing improved GP access for thousands of patients
06 September 2018

Thousands of patients are benefiting from a pilot scheme which is providing increased access to GPs across the Gosport, Fareham and south east Hampshire areas. 

Patients registered at the 38 practices in the two geographical areas covering NHS South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Fareham and Gosport CCG are making use of six ‘hubs’ set up across the area which offer opening times over and above their usual GP surgery for both routine (pre-booked) and same-day appointments. 

All GP practices already offer opening times over their core hours of 8am to 6.30pm for patients registered at their surgery. 

The GP Extended Access (GPEA) Service, an 18-month pilot due to run until March 2019, means patients can go to any of the hubs to see a doctor – providing they have given consent for their medical records to be shared. 

GPEA clinics are currently available at the following locations:

  • Fareham, at Fareham Community Hospital, on Monday to Saturdays
  • Gosport, Gosport War Memorial Hospital, Mondays to Sundays
  • Havant, Havant Health Centre, Monday to Fridays and Sundays
  • Petersfield, Petersfield Community Hospital, Monday to Saturdays
  • Waterlooville, Waterlooville Health Centre, Monday to Saturdays
  • Bordon, Badgerswood Surgery, Saturdays.

 

Those clinics are available Monday to Fridays from 6.30pm-8pm; Saturday clinics run from 8am-4.30pm and Sunday sessions are 8am-1pm. 

The clinics are GP-led. Nurses and other healthcare professionals work alongside the GP and can see patients from any of the 38 practices in any of the hubs. The 38 practices have a combined total population of around 417,000 patients. 

The CCG has paid for the service with the staffing resourced by the Southern Hampshire Primary Care Alliance, drawn from GPs, nurses and healthcare assistants from all the practices and local locums (fully qualified GPs who work at a site temporarily, often providing cover for holidays or sickness). 

Further improvements are planned to the service, which will be reviewed before the existing arrangements end in March, 2019. 

These include, in response to patient feedback: 

  • Another hub, Fareham East, opening at Portchester Health Centre in the next few weeks – which will mean less travelling for many Fareham residents, as the community hospital is at Locks HealthHeaHeath.
  • Providing dressing appointments seven days a week (since June, the service has provided additional GP and practice nurse clinics at the Gosport and Havant hubs on Sundays providing pre-bookable and NHS 111 acute appointments). 

Since going live, the service has increased the number of GP pre-bookable appointments available – a figure which will rise again with the opening of the Fareham East hub, with the provision of GP and practice nurse clinics on Saturdays from 8am-4.30pm initially. 

Sally Crooks, GP Extended Access Service Manager for the Alliance, said: “We have come a long way since the first GPEA clinic took place, and some lessons have been learned. We have had some fantastic feedback from patients, some of whom have been more than happy to travel, for example, from Fareham to Petersfield, to see a GP for a same-day appointment. 

“GP Surgeries are usually closed on Bank Holidays and at weekends, but last Christmas we were able to provide a primary care service on every day of the Christmas Holiday period including when the GP practices were closed – apart from one evening where really heavy snowfall prevented the GPEA clinics running for reasons of safety for both clinic staff and patients.” 

“In July alone, the service we offered prevented 21 patients from turning up at the Emergency Department at Queen Alexandra Hospital, greatly relieving the threat of added pressure there; and 112 patients from waiting for their own surgery to open. 

“The service is being well received by the GP practices. They can see a lot of activity being done in the GPEA clinics which would otherwise have further stretched their daytime resources.” 

Dr Andrew Holden, a Petersfield GP and primary care lead for the CCGs, said: “The service is not only improving access for patients – but it is also increases the capacity in the practices, which is having a further beneficial impact on patient waiting times. 

“The GP Extended Access Service is available for any patient registered at a Fareham and Gosport or South East Hampshire practice but will particularly help people who may have work or family commitments which make it hard for them to make appointments during normal surgery working hours.” 

This table shows the total number of patients who have attended GP Extended Access appointments since October 1, 2017, through to August, 2018. 

 

Total Attended

Oct-17

1181

Nov-17

1255

Dec-17

1266

Jan-18

1936

Feb-18

1636

Mar-18

1492

Apr-18

1744

May-18

1820

Jun-18

1657

Jul-18

1557

Aug-18

1727

Total

17271