Cannock Practices’ Network Surgery project, which opened its doors last September and has already benefited more than 4,500 patients, has now been officially informed by NHS England that it can continue and that it will be funded until at least March 2019.
The surgery was established following a successful £320,000 bid to the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund last year and was designed to improve patient access to primary care by offering greater flexibility of appointments including evenings and weekends.
It is based in Cannock Hospital and offers same day appointments with either a GP or a nurse between 3:30pm and 8pm during the week and on Saturday and Sunday mornings when a patient’s own GP Surgery has no appointments available.
Clive Cropper, Practice Manager at Moss Street Surgery and Project Lead, said: “We were thrilled to receive confirmation that the funding will be continued for another three years.”
“Nearly all of the patients who have been seen at the surgery said they wanted to see it carry on. We’ve fed that response back to the national team, who have been evaluating how the projects across the country have been working, so we’re delighted that this funding will now enable that to happen. The support from local people has been a really important factor. I would also like to thank the staff who helped to set up the service and also to those who have worked in the surgery and made it such a success.”
“One of the other important objectives for the project was to reduce the number of patients attending Cannock Hospital’s Minor Injury Unit and local A&E Departments during normal GP Surgery working hours. Of the patients who were seen in the Network Surgery, over 20% indicated on the survey we conducted that they would have gone to the MIU or an A&E Department if they had not had an appointment. The reduction has been confirmed from a survey of actual attendances which we have carried out.”
“Now that we’re able to look forward, we’ve been able to invite the two remaining Cannock Network practices, Colliery Practice in Cannock and Dr Chandra’s Practice in Hednesford, to come join the service so we will be able to offer the additional appointments to the 65,000 patients registered across all 12 of the practices in the next few months.”
“We also want to develop our preliminary work that has looked at offering different types of consultations. This includes, for example, telephone and online face-to face consultations and also encouraging people to use self help and healthy lifestyle apps that have been professionally developed by clinicians.”
In addition to providing additional doctor and nurse appointments for patients, the project has helped to free up time in the participating GP practices to enable GPs to provide longer appointments in order to review vulnerable and complex patients with multiple conditions.
The Network Surgery was developed by the Cannock Practices Network in response to feedback from the Minor Injury Unit (MIU) Consultation and in partnership with the Cannock Public Engagement Network.
The surgery is based in the GP Suite on Level 2 in Cannock Chase Hospital and offers doctor and nurse appointments to patients when their own practice either has no appointments left or is closed. It is open from 3.30pm till 8pm on weekdays and from 9am till 1pm on Saturday and Sunday.
The 12 practices who will be involved in the second phase of the Improving Patient Access Project are: Alderwood Medical Practice, Chadsmoor Medical Practice, Colliery Practice, Heath Hayes/Chase Medical Practice, Moss Street Surgery, Dr Murugan’s Surgery, Dr Rasib’s GP Suite Surgery, Rawnsley Surgery, Red Lion Surgery, Dr VK Singh’s Surgery, Dr Yi’s Surgery and Dr Chandra’s Surgery.