Improving and strengthening our Extended Primary Care Service
Our Extended Primary Care Service (EPCS) provides additional GP and nurse appointments for Southwark patients from 8am – 8pm, 7 days per week. This service is delivered by groups of GP practices working together in GP federations; Quay Health Solutions in the north and Improving Health in the south. The service has been operational since November 2014, with full coverage across the borough from April 2015.
In 2016/17, NHS Southwark CCG commissioned Deloitte LLP to undertake an independent evaluation of the EPCS to inform developments and ensure the service fully delivers on commissioning objectives, including improving access to, and reducing pressure on general practice. Key findings of the evaluation include:
- The EPCS was a new way of commissioning additional general practice appointments. It required practices to change the way they worked, and the scale of change was significant.
- Patients have had a positive experience with the EPCS; with consistently high levels of patient satisfaction. Patients welcome the sharing of data between the EPCS and the practice to support continuity of care. A snapshot patient survey also found that many patients were not aware of the EPCS but would be interested in using it.
- Practices also feel that the EPCS has helped their patient's access primary care. From a staff survey undertaken by Deloitte, 87% of staff noted that the EPCS has helped reduce demands on their practice.
- There is a high variation among practices in the utilisation of the EPCS; however, utilisation, total referrals and capacity have increased over time.
- From interviews and case studies with practices, whether or not a patient is willing to visit the EPCS depends on convenience and how the service is communicated to them by the practice clinician.
You can read the summary evaluation and the CCG's management response to its recommendations here.