New roles across Great Yarmouth and Waveney to help patients without GP visit
- Credit: Nick Butcher
New roles are being introduced across Great Yarmouth and Waveney to give patients access to expert healthcare help without having to book a doctor's appointment.
Five clinical pharmacists are now in post across the region, while physician associates will soon begin trainee placements at Beccles Medical Centre, Andaman Surgery and Victoria Road Surgery in Lowestoft, Bridge Road Surgery in Oulton Broad and Gorleston Medical Centre.
They will work under the supervision of GPs to take medical histories, carry out physical examinations, treat patients with chronic conditions, develop management plans, perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and provide advice to patients.
The clinical pharmacists are employed by East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) and work across Millwood Surgery and Falklands Surgery in Bradwell, Nelson Medical Practice in Great Yarmouth, Kirkley Mill Surgery and Westwood Surgery in Lowestoft, Bungay Medical Practice and Bridge Road Surgery in Oulton Broad. They are part of the general practice team, and resolve day-to-day medicine issues and consult with and treat patients directly. They can also provide extra help to manage long-term conditions, advice for those on multiple medications and better access to health checks.
The roles follow the introduction of a Community Education Provider Network (CEPN), which brings together primary and community care services and education providers to improve training and development for healthcare staff.
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The CEPN is supported by NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and part-funded by Health Education England.
Dr Emma Brandon, a local GP and chairman of the CEPN, said: 'Recent years have seen demand for GP services increase significantly. By introducing these new roles, we hope to redirect patients elsewhere, when appropriate, in turn reducing the pressure on family doctors and freeing them up to care for those in greater need.'
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The CEPN is being supported by local healthcare providers, including GP practices, James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and ECCH.
Future work will include developing relationships with schools and colleges to help aspiring medical students gain valuable experience and advising them about the wealth of opportunities available in Great Yarmouth and Waveney.