GP Practices throughout the East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group area have signed up to ‘Get Help Sooner’ a new way of working to improve and speed up patient access to healthcare professionals and services.
General practice is becoming busier with GPs across the country delivering more than 1.3m patient consultations a day. However, not everyone needs to see a GP. ‘Get Help Sooner’ offers patients the choice to see another healthcare professional such as a physiotherapist, mental health worker, pharmacist, optician or dentist who, in many cases, can more appropriately treat their condition. This will free up GPs’ time to see the patients who really need their expert medical care.
From October 2018, specially trained GP receptionists across East Riding of Yorkshire, with access to a new local directory of healthcare services, will start to ask patients very basic questions about their condition. Receptionists can then give patients information on options available for seeing another healthcare professional or service, within or without the practice, more suitable for their condition. This allows patients to get help sooner, without having to see their GP first.
Local GP and CCG Chair, Dr Gina Palumbo says, “GPs are part of a much wider team of primary healthcare professional such as nurses, healthcare assistants, physiotherapists and pharmacists who can sometimes provide more appropriate care and treatment for a patient’s condition.
‘I know my patients find it frustrating when they wait for an appointment to see me and I then have to send them onto a different health care professional to get the care they need. Get Help Sooner is all about helping patients receive the right care at the right time with the right person. We want to avoid patients having to make unnecessary trips to see their GP when another healthcare professional or service can manage their condition, possibly closer to home.’
‘It’s not about avoiding offering GP appointments to patients. Receptionists will offer patients a choice of healthcare professionals or services more appropriate for their condition. If a patient really needs to see a GP, then they will be able to. People have that choice to give minimal information to the receptionist who will help them choose a health care professional or service more suited to providing the right treatment, help or support.’
Ian Dewar, Chairman of the GP-Patient Engagement Group comments, ‘As those of us involved in patient groups liaising with our GP’s realise, many patients are confused when faced with the plethora of job titles and roles they are frequently confronted with. Any move to ameliorate this problem and help patients see the right person sooner, rather than later, is very welcome and in my view the right way forward. Likewise, any initiative that helps to free up GP appointments for those who really need them, can only be seen as a positive step.’