Watton surgery to pioneer health care scheme
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
A surgery which has been placed under increasing pressure in recent years is hopeful it will be able to offer a better service to patients after being picked to trial a pioneering new system of service delivery.
Watton Medical Practice will be taking part in the national Primary Care Home (PCH) pilot, which aims to make care more accessible to patients. It is also focused on improving links between primary, secondary and social care.
The Watton practice is operating in partnership with two practices in Thetford as the Breckland Alliance, one of 15 PCH test sites around the UK and the only one in East Anglia.
In 2014, the surgery in Gregor Shanks Way made the controversial decision to de-register 1,500 patients due to increased demand for appointments, and it currently has four GP vacancies.
Practice manager Mary Osborne believes the trial, which began on April 1, will be a 'good move' for the three practices.
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'To have been recognised nationally as one of the 15 test sites was a real boost,' she said.
'There is a huge shortage of GPs and clinical skills in Norfolk.
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'Working in a federated way is only going to be positive. We will be able to pool our resources and look at how we can be more proactive about managing care in the community.'
Mrs Osborne said the Breckland Alliance will look at bringing more services from hospitals into the community and help doctors working more closely with secondary services like nursing homes and community staff.
The Thetford Healthy Living Centre, which offers care closer to home including hospital out-patient services, minor surgery, physiotherapy and X-rays, is part of the Breckland Alliance and will be included in the pilot.
It is hoped Watton Medical Practice can be used in a similar way to expand services further into the community.
Ms Osborne added that some patients could start to see a difference by the end of the year.
Dr Jon Bryson, from School Lane Surgery, said: 'It is an attractive pilot for the Breckland Alliance because it is a direction we are already moving in with the way we deliver care to our patients and prepare primary care for the challenges of the next two decades.
'We see this as a way of improving local patient care by developing greater integration between our practices.'
The Breckland Alliance will be working with NHS South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England in the pilot.
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