Frequently asked questions about GP-Led health centres

Posted on December 2, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories | Tags: , |

Eastern & Coastal Kent PCT | FAQ | accessed 2 December 2009

The following questions have been raised by members of the public at stakeholders groups held in Thanet and Swale as part of the process for talking to patients about how we intend to improve access to a GP.

These questions are posted here to help you find answers to any questions you may have. Please contact our public and patient engagement team if you have further questions.

Questions from Thanet Stakeholder meeting.

Will NHS Direct tell people to go to these new services?

Yes. These services will be part of the range of options available to patients to receive care, including your own GP, minor injuries, walk-in-centres or the new GP-led health services.

Will these services affect the out-of-hours services?

No. The current out-of-hours service is provided by South East Health Ltd and runs independently from GP-led health services. These services will continue to run as they do now. For more information, visit the South East Health website.

How many GP’s will be at the centre?

We do not know at this stage, but it is anticipated three to four are required to cover the rota.

How will unregistered patients be treated if they come from out of the area and what will their aftercare be like?

All patients will be assessed and treated according to their needs and will be given the option of receiving the right kind of follow up care if appropriate.

How will you monitor the drug users who may be out of area and asking for repeat prescriptions?

No patient will be treated without the proper procedures and checks being made using standard triage and reference to medical records as required.

How will you monitor the service when it is up and running?

These new GP-led health facilities will be monitored in the same way as existing medical facilities. There are strict clinical protocols to follow and health and safety issues to consider. Fully-trained staff will be required to check the performance of the services provided on a regular basis.

Will the service take into account the needs of drug users?  Will this be a problem?

Drug users will not be excluded from being treated. Any patient who visits the centre will be assessed and treated as appropriate.

Questions from Swale Stakeholder meeting.

How will this project be achieved on time?

The PCT has committed to having new GP-led health services up and running by April 2009. Tight deadlines are in place to ensure this happens. We have also pledged to develop further services beyond April 2009.

Will these services be where we want them?

Yes. Where these new services should be has been fully researched, including taking note of what has been said during public and patient consultation, GPs views and a health needs assessment. The location is one of many factors to be taken into account when looking at providing new services.

Is this over and above existing services or will some services be cut?

Yes. The PCT must clearly demonstrate that GP-led health centre provision is over and above current services. We do not have any plans to cut any existing services in order to progress these plans.

Will the summer visitor element be factored in?

Yes. These services are in addition to what already exists and will better help deal with demand. We are aware that any services we provide will have peaks and troughs in demand.

How were the Expressions of Interest advertised? (to provide these services)

Advertisements asking for expressions of interest in providing services were placed in appropriate press and publications specialising in this field.

How will the transport issues be addressed?

Transport issues will not be ignored. We continue to work closely with our partners to improve transport to and from our services. It is important to locate these new services correctly as one of the aims is to improve patient access to services. The PCT is committed to making more services available locally for patients.

Will patients who are not registered be entitled to home visits?

No. These new services are being designed to provide care on site between 8am and 8pm. It is not safe practice to use resources to visit an unregistered patient at home.

How will you check a GP’s competency?

This is done through stringent performance management, including a GP appraisal process and the PCT monitoring of any complaints.

How can you assure us this consultation is not a token measure?

We have involved patients throughout this process and the comments/thoughts and views of the public and stakeholders have been included in the very essence of the remit of this project – improving patient access. The PCT has a public and patient advocate on the project team handling GP-led health centre services.

Extra general questions posted.:

Is money being taken from existing GP services to fund GP-led health services?

No. Extra funding has been identified by government, specifically for GP-led health services and the PCT will be investing some funding of its own.

Will patients lose their existing GP if they use these new services?

No. Patients can have an existing GP and still use these new services.

What about under-doctored areas such as Swale?

New GP-led health services will help address the under-doctoring issue and provide improved access for patients to a GP. That’s one of the reasons Swale was identified as an area suitable for such a facility.

Will private companies get the business to provide these services?

A carefully managed tendering process will ensure the best provider of healthcare will be asked to provide these services. That could include existing GPs (working with other partners), an NHS organisation or a private company.

Will existing GP services close as a result of these services being provided?

No. These services are additional services designed to improve access to GPs and attract patients who may not normally visit a GP.

Will GPs running the centre be under-qualified?

No. Only fully qualified and experienced staff will be recruited to run these services

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