A number of new clinical roles have been introduced in GP practices across Castle Point, Rochford and Southend including Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Practice Nurse, Advanced Health Practitioner (AHP), Emergency Care Practitioner, Practice Pharmacist and Health Care Assistant to support GPs to spend more time with patients who need them most.
NHS Castle Point and Rochford and NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are helping local GP practices meet the need of services that are designed around the needs of the local population. We have been an early adopter of some of the new roles you can expect to see in GP Practices, following the recent announcement by NHS England (NHSE) that funding of 20,000 more staff to help GP practices work together as part of a local ‘primary care network’ will be made available nationally.
It’s important we ensure patients get access to the right healthcare at the right time and a wide range of services locally. Sometimes this will be an appointment with a GP, but depending on your needs, seeing another healthcare professional could be more appropriate and may enable you to be seen more quickly. Throughout Castle Point and Rochford and Southend we have a number of roles already in place to deliver the new ways of working.
Rushbottom Lane Practice in Benfleet has been one of the first in the county to benefit from the new roles.
These include the Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) who can help people with range of minor health problems and undertake planned, reviews of patients with long term conditions such as diabetes. The aim is to optimise medication to manage problems and keep people as well as they can be and in their own home where possible.
The ANP may also prescribe any medicine for any condition within their competence and see patients with undiagnosed, undifferentiated medical conditions and make treatment decisions, including ordering necessary investigations. They may also refer patients to secondary care as well as undertake appropriate home visits
The ANP can also assist with any common minor health problem including things such as sore throat, ear ache, cold and flu, cough, chest infection, thrush, athlete’s foot, wounds, emergency contraception, conjunctivitis, infections, diarrhoea and vomiting, headaches, joint pain, musculoskeletal problems (back, hip and shoulder pain) and minor injuries.
You may also see a Practice Nurse, Advanced Health Practitioner (AHP) or Health Care Assistant (HCA). These roles are there to help patients with things such as 24-hour blood pressure monitoring, travel vaccinations, infections, smear tests, baby vaccinations, B12 injections, flu injections, dressings/suture removal, pneumococcal injections, shingles injections, chronic disease appointments, health checks and blood pressure checks.
Another new role now available in GP practices is that of a Practice Pharmacist. The Practice Pharmacist supports GPs by taking on medication reviews, medication queries and repeat prescribing.
Rushbottom Lane Practice GP Dr Chana said:
“This isn’t about stopping people from seeing their GPs; it’s about helping patients find the right service to be seen quickly by the right person. The new roles are there to help support people to make informed decisions about their health, manage their conditions and stay as independent as possible in their own homes if appropriate.
Expertise is also available at the local pharmacy. If there are minor health issues that can be treated with an over the counter remedy such as head lice, colds, nappy rash and mild pain, please do see the local pharmacist. Pharmacists are experts in medicine and together with their practical knowledge can give you advice to save you a trip to the surgery.”
Other roles being introduced in Southend include a Musculoskeletal specialist who can give advice on sprains/strains and back and neck pain. Social workers and paramedics are also now working in GP practices supporting with home visits to help meet patient needs.
A video, below, has been developed to help explain more about the local plan and tell local people about what’s already happening. The video has also been shared nationally by NHS England and a blog by Dr Jose Garcia Lobera & Dr Kashif Siddiqui has also been published on the NHS England website.