New GP service to be rolled out in Peckham, Dulwich and Camberwell
From 11 November 2014, when patients in Peckham, Dulwich and Camberwell need to see a GP urgently a new service will be available for them.
Over the past year NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been reviewing urgent care services across Southwark and asking patients for their views. This highlighted a big variation between the services patients receive in different parts of the borough. It was also clear that the health system was too complicated and difficult to navigate. Often these problems mean that patients go to their local A&E – not because it is an emergency but because they think that this is the easiest way to be seen by a doctor.
Southwark GP practices and the CCG want to make it easier for patients to contact a GP for advice rather than use the Accident and Emergency Department. In the first phase of plans to improve GP services across Southwark the CCG is launching a new 8am-8pm 7 day-a-week GP service at the Lister Primary Care Centre in Peckham, which will replace the current walk-in service. A similar service will be rolled out for patients in the north of the borough early in the New Year.
To use the new service, patients are being asked to contact their GP practice first. When they contact their local surgery they will be able to speak to a GP or nurse who will give them advice or arrange an appointment for them if they need to see someone.
The difference will be that, if a patient needs an appointment and there is nothing available with their own GP their practice will be able to arrange for them to be seen by the new service at the Lister. This service will be available 8am-8pm 7 days a week, so appointments will also be available in the evening and at weekends when practices are closed. Even outside of these times patients will still be able to call their own practice and will be directed to SELDOC – the GP out of hours service who will continue to offer them urgent appointments, advice or home visits during the night. In this way Southwark residents will have 24 hour access to GP services as an alternative to Accident and Emergency, making it easier for them to get the medical advice and support they need around the clock.
The new service is designed to reduce this confusion by making GP practices the first port of call for all non-emergency health services. The CCG is investing £2million to increase GP practice capacity to make this possible.
Dr Jonty Heaversedge, Chair of Southwark CCG said: "Our review showed us that urgent healthcare has been confusing and inconsistent in Southwark for many years. Patients have told us that this has made it very difficult for them to obtain the advice and support they need, when they need it."
He added: "As the commissioner of healthcare in Southwark, we knew that something needed to change. That is why the CCG is investing £2million in more GP appointments - we want to make sure that every patient who needs to be seen can be, and quickly."
Patients who aren't registered with a GP will also be able to speak to a GP or nurse if they contact a practice near to where they live.
Dr Sian Howell, a local GP and CCG lead for GP services, said: "We want to be able to give a very clear message to all Southwark residents – if you need to see a GP or nurse urgently, contact your GP practice or one near to where you live. If your surgery is closed you will be redirected to the out of hours service."
She added: "We want to put an end to a confusing health system and provide a better and fairer service for our patients."
The service is planned to launch in the rest of the borough in early 2015.