New alliance formed by doctors in Norwich to help city’s GPs and improve patients’ care

Dr Simon Cooke, of Oak Street Medical Centre, helps a patient (posed by model).

Dr Simon Cooke, of Oak Street Medical Centre, helps a patient (posed by model). - Credit: Archant

Doctors in Norwich have joined forces in an attempt to battle against the 'unsustainable' state of general practice in the city.

The new alliance, named 'OneNorwich', has been set up to offer more NHS services in the community and tackle the shortage of GPs in the area.

It comprises 23 of 24 GP practices in the city.

Dr Simon Cooke, of the Oak Street Medical Practice and the interim chairman of One Norwich, described the new alliance as 'exciting'.

He said it will enable the GPs in the city to speak with one voice and means other NHS organisations will not have to liaise with 23 different surgeries.

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Improving the IT system to ensure quicker access to patient records and providing more services – including mental health – in the community are among the top priorities of the alliance.

Other ideas include creating a different home visiting system, a single point of access for patients, and exploring more efficient ways to help patients to get repeat prescriptions.

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It comes as healthcare is set to change across Norfolk and Waveney as chiefs draw up a 'Sustainability and Transformation Plan' – to which this alliance is linked.

Dr Cooke added that OneNorwich hoped to make the city a better place for GPs to work in order to attract doctors in the next few years.

He said there was a 'bulge of GPs' who are set for retirement in the next few years and not the quantity of doctors coming into general practice to replace them.

'General practice in Norwich is not sustainable in its current form,' he said.

He added: 'We want to put the patient at the centre of the clinical decision-making.

'If we can create a new home visiting service and use information technology far more effectively then that will give GPs time to deliver more to patients.'

The alliance will elect a committee comprising a chairman, vice-chairman, lead nurse, and lead practice manager by December 14, who will work on a new strategy for the GPs.

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