The NHS is under such considerable pressure that we need to make best use of our dedicated staff and teams, writes Samantha Jones

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Nhs england col

Nhs england col

 

One of the key aims of the 50 new care model vanguards is how they can make better use of the skills of GPs, consultants, nurses and other health and social care staff to deliver an improved service for patients.

This is especially important when we talk about allied health professionals, for instance physiotherapists, dietitians and paramedics.   

West Wakefield Health and Wellbeing vanguard (@westwakefield) – a multispecialty community provider – is doing exactly that with their new PhysioFirst initiative.

Around 20 per cent of GP appointments in West Wakefield are for people with musculoskeletal problems.

Recognising the pressure this places on GPs, the vanguard team agreed that it would make more sense for these patients to be seen by an experienced physiotherapist rather than a GP.

Forty-six new multidisciplinary teams have been created, which has reduced the number of different staff involved in a patient’s care – in turn, improving the experience

So, when a patient calls about a bad back, a dedicated “care navigator” offers them an initial assessment with a physiotherapist in the GP practice.

The service has proved to be a real success with patients and professionals alike. Between April and June, local practices offered over 400 PhysioFirst assessments.  

Of these, 82 per cent of patients were given advice on self-care, 75 per cent exercises to do at home and 28 per cent were referred to a community physiotherapist. Only 5 per cent needed to see their GP, saving 67 hours of GP time.    

Working this way has many benefits. The physiotherapist has been involved much earlier and their skills used more effectively. The GP can focus on more complex conditions and, most importantly, the patient has saved time and feels better more quickly. It’s also all done in the GP surgery, saving the patient from having to travel.  

All Together Better Dudley vanguard (@ATBDudley) has taken a ‘teams without walls’ approach – based around GP practice registers – with staff from health, social care, pharmacy and local voluntary organisations assessing and addressing the health and social care needs of their patients together.

Forty-six new multidisciplinary teams have been created, which has reduced the number of different staff involved in a patient’s care – in turn, improving the experience.  

The GP can focus on more complex conditions and, most importantly, the patient has saved time and feels better more quickly

For staff, including allied health professionals, it is helping to promote good working relationships between professions, as well as enhancing their job satisfaction and morale. It also offers opportunities for education and professional development and, importantly, it cuts down on wasted time.  

For more information about the new care models programme, including how to subscribe to our monthly bulletin, click here.

Samantha Jones is director of the New Care Models Programme

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