A new system being introduced at GP practices in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale which will help patients to access the right care to meet their needs.
270 practice staff including receptionists have been trained to assist patients to see the right healthcare professional for their needs, by asking patients who are looking for GP appointments about their reasons for wanting to see a doctor. The new scheme means that receptionists are not diagnosing problems, they are supporting patients to access the right care in the right setting in as short a time as possible. The information from patients who agree to participate will be used to signpost patients to other services if they don’t need to see the GP. This new service will standardise the arrangements for getting appointments across GP surgeries in the borough of Rochdale and make it easier for patients who really need to see the doctor to do so.
Dr Chris Duffy, NHS HMR CCG Chair and local GP said:
“Evidence tells us that a third of GP appointments could be managed appropriately by other healthcare professionals who have the expertise to deal with a problem, often quicker and without the need to see the GP each time. Introducing this new service is a positive change for our patients and it’s aim is to allow quicker access to GP appointments for those that need to see us.”
All patients registered with a practice in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale will have the same experience when they contact their practice either face-to-face or by telephone, no matter who they are registered with. In some cases this new process will mean that a patient could be dealt with by a nurse or another member of the primary care team or for instance pharmacists or optometrists who are healthcare specialists in their own field, and are well placed to support patients if the problem is eye related or is a minor ailment.
Rochdale Health Alliance (RHA), the local GP federation has been commissioned to work jointly with the GP practices to deliver the new scheme, Dr Mo Jiva, Chair of Rochdale Health Alliance said;
‘’Access to GP services has been an issue for some time, due to increasing demand. Unless we make some big changes the situation will not be sustainable. This scheme has been trialed in other areas of the country and has yielded some positive results. An important message for patients is to remember that if they need to see a GP they are more likely to get an appointment with the new system and if they need an urgent appointment they should get one.”