Leading local doctors and patients are celebrating after pulling together to secure a £320,000 grant from the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund to ensure an extra 10,000 GP and Nurse appointments a year in Cannock Chase.
The successful bid by the Cannock Practices Network will take forward the Improving Patient Access Project, and aims to provide the additional appointments in the centrally located Network Surgery at times when the patient groups and forum have said they were most needed, including late afternoons, evenings and weekends. Ten Practices across Cannock Town, Hednesford, Chadsmoor, Heath Hayes and Rawnsley will be involved in the initial one year, pilot project.
As well as providing extra appointments, the project will look to strengthen ties and encourage collaboration between GP practices in Cannock and with other organisations - including those managing local hospitals and community services – by setting up agreements to share information and technology.
Chair of Cannock Chase CCG, Dr Mo Huda, said: “Joining up healthcare services and making sure that all of the organisations providing care to the people of Cannock Chase are working well together is the key to making sure local people get high-quality, consistent care.
“We’re thrilled this grant has been secured,” said Dr Huda. “It’s a testament to the dedication of the patients and doctors that make up the Cannock Practices Network. “Their hard work in putting this bid together is going to bring a huge amount of benefit to local people.”
Dr Huda said the project would also support the CCG’s Choose Well campaign – which signposts people towards the alternatives to A&E – and explore the use of modern technologies to target young people with information on self-care and healthy living.
Clive Cropper, Practice Manager at Moss Street Surgery and a leading member of the Network, said: “This is a massive boost for the people of Cannock Chase, not just in terms of increasing the number of appointments but also making them available at times that many patients have said they want and need them. We have funding to run this Project for 12 months. We’ll be working hard to make it a success and in doing so, ensure that not only will it continue beyond that period but that it can also be extended to include all of the Practices across Cannock Chase CCG.
We hope that it will also provide the foundations on which to build the vision of Cannock Chase CCG and its local GP Practices to ensure improved and consistent care for local residents for the foreseeable future.”
The Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund was launched in October 2013 and initially made £50million available to help improve access to general practice and stimulate innovative ways of providing primary care services with the first wave of twenty pilots announced in April 2014.
A further £100million was made available for a second wave of applications in September 2014, with the Network’s Improving Patient Access Project one of just 37 successful bids out of 156 applications submitted nationally.
The ongoing work of the project will be monitored and evaluated on a regular basis with the full support of, and in conjunction with, the Network Patient Participation Group, whose membership includes representatives from Healthwatch Staffordshire, the Carers Association, the Alzheimer’s Society and Cannock Chase District Council.