Nene CCG’s Northampton Central Locality is financing the additional drop-in clinics for vulnerable patients, including homeless people, sex workers and those with alcohol-misuse problems.
The clinics are provided by the Maple Access practice in Northampton. The business manager at the practice, Daniel Kane, said the number of drop-in sessions had to be increased because of a rising demand.
‘The demand for the services provided by Maple Access has really grown over the last 10 years, from around 50 patients, when it was first set up, to the 5,500 patients we currently see,' he said.
‘As a practice, last year we spent £20,000 on A&E attendances, so it is hoped that by making health services more accessible to these patients it will also have an impact on A&E admissions.'
He added: ‘The clinics really help vulnerable people to access health services and, combined with other services at Oasis House, can really help people get their life back on track.’
Northampton GP Dr Kamal Sood, chairman of Northampton Central Locality for Nene CCG, said: ‘They have made such a difference to people who are often seen as being on the fringes of society and who may feel there are social barriers to mainstream healthcare.’
Neville Pettit, who works at the practice as a mental health nurse, said the drop-in sessions were intense but rewarding.
‘It does make a big difference having all the services under one roof and now there is a GP and nurse going down there regularly the patients can get their prescriptions there and then without having to go elsewhere,' he said.
'There is a dedicated medical room and we have access to patient notes now as well. There really should be something like this in every community.’
The drop-in sessions are held on Wednesday mornings and Thursday mornings and afternoons. They include access to a GP and a nurse.
Nene CCG, which covers 70 practices, is in the second of the four waves of authorisation to be assessed by the NHS Commissioning Board.