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Health help without a GP

Patients from across Great Yarmouth and Waveney are benefitting from expert healthcare help without having to book a doctor’s appointment following the introduction of several innovative new roles.

Five clinical pharmacists are now in post across the region, while physician associates will soon begin trainee placements at Beccles Medical Centre, Andaman Surgery, Bridge Road Surgery, Victoria Road Surgery and Gorleston Medical Centre.

It comes following the introduction of a Community Education Provider Network (CEPN), which brings together primary and community care services and education providers with the aim of improving training and development for healthcare staff. The CEPN has been supported by NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and part-funded by Health Education England.

The clinical pharmacists are employed by East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) and work across Millwood Surgery, Nelson Medical Practice, Falklands Surgery, Kirkley Mill, Westwood Surgery, Bungay Medical Practice and Bridge Road Surgery. Part of the general practice team, they 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.

By treating some patients who would traditionally need a GP appointment, they are helping to reduce the pressure on doctors while allowing them to make best use of their time by seeing those in the greatest need. Initial feedback from patients has been very positive, with more clinical pharmacists due to be recruited later this year.

The physician associates 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.

Dr Emma Brandon, a local GP, GP tutor and chair of the CEPN, said: “We are delighted that the innovative work carried out by the network is starting to reap real benefits for both patients and our colleagues across primary care.

“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.

“We have made fantastic progress since the CEPN was introduced in April, and look forward to continuing to support our colleagues across the NHS as we work together to further improve the quality of care, safety and experience our patients have when accessing care.”

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 East Coast Community Healthcare.

Future work will include developing relationships with schools and colleges to help aspiring medical students gain valuable experience within a primary care setting and advising them about the wealth of opportunities available in Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

published on 30/01/2017

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Beccles House
1 Common Lane North
Beccles, Suffolk
NR34 9BN
01502 719 500
01502 719 874
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