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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South East Health Clinical Care

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Providers | Tags: |

SEH Ltd website | accessed 26 November 2009

SEH is to set up and run Walk In Centres in Hastings and Eastbourne, on behalf of NHS Hastings and Rother and NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald respectively.

The two centres are part of a national £250million programme of  “open door” health facilities, set up following the Darzi Report. They will act as vehicles for health promotion by increasing access to health services.

In turn, this should help alleviate pressure on hospital A&E services. Set up in partnership with local GP practices, the SEH centres will open 12 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“These are very exciting projects for us, combining GP knowledge of local healthcare needs with SEH’s experience of management and technologies,” says Medical Director Mark Reynolds.

Both centres will have “open-door” policies, whereby patients can walk in and be seen by a GP or practice nurse within a couple of hours. Both also have station locations, within deprived wards specified by the PCTs.

The Hastings Walk In Centre will occupy the ground floor of the PCT-funded Station Plaza Primary Care Centre, now under construction. Situated next to Hastings Station, this £16million building will also house five GP practices, including the one that will partner SEH. The expected contract start date is June 2010.

In Eastbourne, SEH intends to convert a vacant café premises at the town’s Grade II Listed station into a new health centre. Subject to planning approval, this Walk In Centre is due to open in September.

Both centres will be staffed by a stable team of four to five GPs, with nursing support. The aim is that they will make access to health services more flexible and convenient. They will also provide an open access facility for people visiting or working in the towns who have an immediate need to see a GP.

The centres will start with empty GP lists and people will be offered the opportunity to register, with the aim of building up the lists to 3,000 in Hastings and 3,500 in Eastbourne. Health promotion and screening will be an important part of their work.

“We already provide the out of hours GP service for local people in Hastings and Eastbourne and will be working hard to ensure that the Walk In Centres provide the care and advice that people need,” says SEH chief executive Ron Owttrim.

“We are pleased to be working with local GPs to offer a wider choice and high standard of services to people in both areas.”

Eastbourne Station Health Centre

The Eastbourne Station Health Centre opened its doors on Tuesday November 17th 2009.  The Centre, converted from vacant café premises at the town’s Grade II Listed Railway Station, has been set up and is being run by South East Health on behalf of NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald.

Opening hours:

            08.00 hours to 20.00 hours – 7 days a week, 365 days a year

The centre has an “open-door” policy, whereby patients can walk in and be seen by a GP or practice nurse within a couple of hours.  As well as the walk-in service appointments are available.


Appointments can be made by:

  • Walking into the centre,
  • Telephoning 01323 726650 during opening hours


  • If the centre is closed call 03000242424

The centre is staffed by:

  • A team of GPs, nurses and health care assistants supported by a management and administration team
  • For any specific details please contact a member of the administration team or the Primary Care Business Manager, Nicola Gowers on 01323 746390

The GP Health Centre is committed to providing Patient-Centred Services.  There will always be a clinician at the centre and services the centre will provide includes:

  • Access to services for walk-in patients
  • Access to emergency appointment if clinically indicated
  • Access to a GP for registered and non-registered patients
  • Walk-in, Book-on-the day, advance and routine appointments
  • Access to all general medical services
  • Domiciliary visits in accordance with our home visiting guidelines.
  • Chronic Disease Management for disease areas such as Diabetes, Asthma and Coronary Heart Disease
  • Health Promotion
  • Disease Prevention
  • Services addressing key local health issues
  • Enhanced services to include; Minor Injuries, Sexual Health, Smoking Cessation

The centre is taking on new patients.  If you wish for the centre to be your main GP service and wish to register as a patient please call into the centre or contact a member of the administration team for further information on 01323 726650

The First Few Days

Well it’s the 17th November and today is our first day!  We’ve had two weeks of intense training, Nic our lovely manager has been working 24/7 for the past couple of weeks and her poor partner has begun to think that he is now a single man! We’ve had the media in and even the local mayor came to see the new surgery. 

We’re based at Eastbourne Train Station and we’re known as the Eastbourne Station Health Centre.  We’re open 8am-8pm, seven days a week, including Bank Holidays and Christmas Day! We have a team of 16 ladies, no men (at the moment!) who include the administrators/receptionist’s, doctors, nurses and Health CAre Assistants (HCAs).  We’re very much a team and all respect each other. 

The first day was manic, and there was us thinking it was going to be oh so quiet!  No chance!!!!  The doors opened dead on 8am and people were waiting at the doors, well ok, that was the staff trying to get in! No, seriously, there were patients waiting to get into the surgery.  We had people wanting to register with us, on day one, that is magnificent!   We’ve had many, many people coming to see us and asking us how we work, all thanks to the media coverage. 

 Why not come and check out our new surgery, you’d be more than welcome!

-Tracey Hibbett 19/11/2009

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Health clinics open in Eastbourne

Posted on November 25, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Providers, Social enterprise | Tags: , |

Bexhill-on-Sea Observer | Annemarie Field | NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald | 25 November 2009

TWO NEW clinics opened in Eastbourne this week.

A new state-of-the-art health centre at Eastbourne Railway Centre opened on Tuesday and offers a ‘walk in’ service to see a GP or nurse from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

And on Thursday the newly refurbished Eastbourne Dental Clinic in Terminus Buildings opened after a two month refit costing almost £500,000.

Eastbourne MP Nigel Waterson was among those who were given a tour of the new walk in health centre which has taken the place of a former sports bar on the station concourse.

The walk in service will be open to everyone, regardless of whether they are registered with the health centre practice, or with another GP surgery, or not at all.

This will mean it can be used by tourists, other visitors to Eastbourne, people who work but do not live in the town, as well as people who are not registered with a GP for whatever reason.

South East Health Ltd (SEHL) will be running the centre and working closely with local GPs to ensure that the services offered by the new health centre are properly integrated into the local health care system and operate as effectively and efficiently as possible to deliver the best outcomes for local people.

The MP also opened the Eastbourne Dental Clinic on Thursday afternoon.

The project is part of the effort by NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald to improve local NHS dental services by commissioning new and enhanced services.

The new look clinic now has three resident dentists using up to date facilities including three operating rooms and a decontamination room.

The practice will offer a wide range of NHS treatments, including hygienist appointments.

Senior Partner Dr Esmail Harunani said, “We want to give all our patients top quality treatment and we will welcome all new patients who want to be seen on the NHS.

“We have re-vamped our facilities and the services we offer and we are aiming to further build our reputation for giving people excellent care and service”.

The Eastbourne Dental Clinic will offer sessions to help people, especially children, prevent problems with their teeth such as decay and tooth loss.

Free oral health seminars will be on offer every month, open to all, and will cover why mouth and tooth care is so important for people of all ages, right from the very young to older people.

People who may have difficulty in getting NHS treatment are also encouraged to visit the practice, especially anyone who has not been seen by a dentist for the past two years.

The clinic’s dental team is specially trained in helping patients who are nervous or anxious.

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