This report provides a brief overview of the General Practice Development Plan 2022-2024.
The Director of Primary Care, NHS Kent and Medway first presented to the Board a briefing on the General Practice Development Plan 2022-2024. It was acknowledged that Medway residents experienced some challenges accessing GP services and whilst this was reflected nationally there were local nuances around the population makeup, geographical spread, and health inequalities.
The Board’s attention was drawn to the following matters, details of which were set out in Appendix 1 to the report:
· the vision and pledge set out within the Plan
· the outcome of public consultation
· strategic aims of the Plan and how these will be achieved and measured.
It was said that the Plan was ambitious and focussed on the here and now. It was acknowledged that a longer-term plan needed to be developed beyond the next two years.
The Primary Care Network Representative then gave the Board a progress update on the Medway and Swale Health Hub. The aim of the health hub was to balance patient need effectively with available resources. It was an additional way to access GP services and did not replace face to face or telephone consultations. It utilised the wider primary care workforce as well as GPs.
Two GPs, three nurses and admin staff had been recruited. The health hub enabled GP practices to deal with their own workloads and spend more time with patients by diverting e-consult queries away from practices to a centrally coordinated team that would deal with the query on behalf of the practices. Health Hubs could access patient records, prescribe, refer onto other services, and book face to face appointments where needed. Detail was provided in Appendix 1 to the report.
Members then made the following comments:
· Frustration was expressed about the length of time taken to receive an update on the strategy to overcome the local General Practice issues experienced.
· With reference to a recent case, it was said that communication with Elected Members on local matters of concern needed to improve.
· A view was expressed that there was an issue of consistency of access to GP services across Medway with parts of Medway able to reach their GP far easier and sooner than others. There was a cross party Task Group looking at the issue of access to GP Services.
· A concern was expressed that only 41% of respondents in the patient survey were satisfied with getting through the phone to their GP. It was suggested that use of the same communications platform for all GP practices would be beneficial. A good experience at the first point of contact was important.
· Frustration was expressed around delays delivering the Healthy Living Centre in Chatham. Implementing new systems which took advantage of digital innovations was welcomed.
· Utilising the wider clinical workforce was welcomed. This was a benefit of the Health Hub model.
· It was important to consider what action could be taken upstream to prevent ill health and reduce reliance on primary and secondary care services.
· A view was expressed that the General Practice Development Plan 2022-2024 was comprehensive, however lacked an element of co-production with service users. In response, it was acknowledged that it might not have been clear in the presentation, but the Board was assured that co-production was a key element. Stakeholders included patients, higher education, GPs, and wider health workforce.
· It was explained to the Board that the aim was not just to consider primary care in isolation but to create an integrated local care model. The Health Hub, e-consult, was the first stage. Health Hubs going forward would act as a single point of entry into primary and community services from which each presentation would be triaged and directed to the appropriate service, utilising the wider health workforce. It was a change in clinical practice. It was suggested that a future report be shared with the Board on the wider local care strategy, of which primary care is one element.
The Health and Wellbeing Board noted the presentation on the General Practice Development Plan 2022-2024 and requested a progress report be presented to a future meeting.