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National profile for Gosport’s Better Local Care initiative

Gosport Surgery signposters
Surgery SIgnposting

Progress on transforming NHS healthcare in Gosport is set to go under the national spotlight.

Dr Donal Collins, Clinical Lead for the Better Local Care programme in Portsmouth, is due to present at two high-level conferences.

He will be at the Kia Oval in London this Thursday (March 2) at a Transforming Primary Care for London event, where another key presenter will be Manchester GP Dr Robert Varnam, Head of General Practice Development at NHS England.

On June 28, he will be at the Excel London for Europe’s largest integrated health and social care event – ‘MCP Exemplars: Learning and scaling up the best models’, which this year is expected to attract 7,000 delegates.

All 11 Gosport GP practices are involved in the town’s Multi-specialist Community Provider (MCP) scheme, known locally as Better Local Care (BLC), which is supporting their population of around 80,000 residents.

With many GP practices nationwide facing issues of unprecedented demand for their services, problems of GP recruitment and retention and the need to move towards seven-day services, there is huge interest in local success stories which offer best practice for other areas of the country.

Conference organisers have been particularly interested in Gosport’s 15-month-old Same Day Access Service – a single point of access, multi-disciplinary, same day appointment service run from a hub at Gosport War Memorial Hospital by staff from GP practices

Other BLC initiatives in the town have included:

  • Frequent attenders and carers support - extra support for people attending GP practices frequently, including specially trained volunteer 'surgery signposters' to identify appropriate services and advise on self-care
  • Home Visits: The right approach - effective and consistent clinical triage to make sure all patients requesting home visits receive the right level of response according to need
  • Improving acute pathways - building closer working relationships between acute and primary care clinicians to further join up care
  • Pharmacy in primary care - bringing more pharmacy input to general practice and the same day appointment service
  • Extra support for nursing homes - creating a specialist care home team for Gosport practices, delivering flu jabs to care homes in the town and working with South Central Ambulance Service to reduce avoidable hospital admissions.

Dr Collins, who this week was also addressing 120 GPs in Dorset, said: “General practice – and the NHS in general – cannot continue in its present form if it is to make economies, remain sustainable and provide the quality and responsive care that patients rightfully want and expect.

“There is still much work to be done in Gosport. These are still relatively early days for Better Local Care, but it is obviously flattering that others are keen to find out what we have done here – just as we, equally, are keen to find out what is working well in other areas.”