70 GPs working together in London to redesign services

All A&E departments in south west London should have an integrated urgent care centre attached to deal with primary care and urgent care caseload, a group of local clinicians has suggested.

Dr Freeman: the draft reports are ‘open and honest about the quality of current services and where they need to improve’
Dr Freeman: the draft reports are ‘open and honest about the quality of current services and where they need to improve’

A group of 70 GPs, hospital doctors, nurses and patients in south west London has come together to look at how services can be improved locally.

The group has published six reports across urgent and emergency care, maternity, children’s services, long-term conditions, planned care and end-of-life care.

Its report on urgent care found the responsiveness and quality of urgent care services differs across south west London.

One suggestion to improve this was that all A&E departments have an integrated urgent care centre to deal with primary care and urgent care caseload alongside A&E departments in hospitals.

It also found that many patients find it difficult to access urgent GP appointments, particularly out of hours.

It said if small changes are made in every GP practices across south west London there could be a reduction in A&E attendances.

It highlighted a local scheme in Croydon where every GP practice has been asked to block off one third of their appointments on a Monday as ‘urgent book on the day’. Practices are also expected to call back a patient requesting a home visit within 30 minutes.

Dr Howard Freeman, local GP and joint medical director for NHS South West London, said the draft reports are ‘open and honest about the quality of current services and where they need to improve’.

He said: ‘The benefit of this approach [of bringing clinicians and patients together] is that you have a very significant number of people coming together who work in the system and understand how the system currently works and its strengths and weaknesses.

‘Having the public contribute also moderates the purely clinical view to create a well developed and balanced approach.’

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