After moving to a new health centre, the list size increased from 14,000 to 20,000. All patients were allocated a GP of their choice but it was increasingly difficult to book an advance appointment with their own doctor. There were a large number of on-the-day appointments for urgent medical problems but they were being used for routine issues, reducing continuity of care.
The 16 GPs, plus trainees, were divided into three teams, each with a similar number of patients and clinical sessions. Appointments for usual doctors or a doctor in their team were bookable up to 6-8 weeks in advance. All calls for urgent medical problems were triaged by the duty doctors, who could book a same-day appointment for patients with urgent medical problems.
RCGP president Professor Mike Pringle presents the award
The proportion of appointments booked with a patient’s own doctor had averaged about 30%. After the project started this jumped to nearly 50% and has been maintained. Within teams, continuity has been 80%. Patient satisfaction has improved and doctors feel they are providing a higher standard of care with improved job satisfaction and reduced stress.
GP partner Dr Elizabeth Goodburn said: 'I would recommend this to larger practices, and smaller practices could learn from the experience too. Continuity is one of the main benefits of the UK GP system, but we often focus too much on access.
'We now have smaller groups of doctors, co-ordinating their days, with better handover arrangements, talking about clinical issues and patients they are worried about.'
THE JUDGES SAID:
This is a great model of teamworking that is going to be the future of general practice, given the move towards larger practices
The GP Enterprise Awards are organised by GP magazine and GPonline, in association with the RCGP and sponsored by the MDU. Each of the six category winners receives £1,000 and has the chance to become the overall winner in a vote by the profession - and win a further £4.000.
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