The new practice manager at one of the largest GP Practices in Torbay is recruiting paramedics and pharmacists in a bid to locally tackle the national shortage of GPs and challenges felt by the wider NHS.
Brunel Medical Practice in Torquay already had 6 GP partners, 1 salaried GP and 12 nursing staff, from practice nurses to phlebotomists spread across three sites in Babbacombe, St Marychurch and Shiphay.
They are now recruiting other healthcare professionals to join the team and provide their service to patients, including paramedics, nurse practitioners and pharmacists, as new Practice Manager Rachael Lankshear – recruited from Plymouth – explains:
“These are very exciting times for both patients and staff at Brunel. Our GP Partners are working to make positive changes to benefit all patients and it was felt that in order to make sure our patients see the right healthcare professional at the right time and receive excellent care, we would need to use some of the trained specialists that they are used to seeing in other healthcare settings, such as hospital or pharmacy visits.
We know that the wider NHS is facing many challenges, in particular the much-publicised national shortage of GPs, which has seen all practices struggle to recruit doctors. This is why the partners here have committed to this new way of taking the practice forward, and I commend them for their progressive vision and dedication to the patients they care for.”
Two experienced and highly qualified paramedics have clinics at the surgery which allow them to see patients who are acutely unwell on the day, with problems varying from chesty coughs and skin complaints to post-operative complications. Both paramedics also undertake home visits to our housebound patients, freeing up time for doctors to see more patients in their clinics and visit people at home.
Advanced Nurse Practioners (ANPs) work alongside the Doctors and Paramedics to also see patients who are unwell on the day. All the ANPs have clinics where patients are seen face to face at the surgery, but they also offer advice and support over the telephone.
In addition, two senior Clinical Pharmacists hold daily clinics where they support patients to manage their long term medication and pain management problems, and can also advise on the best over the counter medicines to use.
“All our GPs will still be available when our patients need them,” assured Rachael, “all this new way of working means is that patients see the person with the right skills to help them and our GPs are not treating patients with minor ailments that could be helped by another member of the clinical team.”
The Brunel reception team has been trained by its GPs to ask some simple questions that will direct patients to the best person to help their particular problem. They also have brand new uniforms and have changed the shape of the practice team and how they manage their appointment system to better meet the needs of patients and ensure their medical need is addressed on the day they contact the surgery.
The practice is also actively encouraging more patients to use their digital and online services, including the use of ‘eConsult’ via their website to get advice and treatment from a member of the clinical team without needing to come to the surgery. They will also be offering free digital ‘drop-in sessions’ for with local healthcare consumer champion Healthwatch Torbay, where patients will be shown how to use online services like eConsult and how to book appointments and order medication from home using the internet.
For more information on this please visit https://healthwatchtorbay.org.uk/digital-project/.
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