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Improving access to primary care

Published: 23 Mar 2016 10:00

Lanarkshire hub to test new access portal.

NHS Lanarkshire will test a new model of primary care, thanks to investment from the Scottish Government's £85 million Primary Care Fund.

The £4.5 million project will see test sites in East Kilbride and Coatbridge bring together a range of health professionals in GP surgeries to help manage patient care - such as practice nurses, district nurses, mental health professionals, pharmacists, allied health professionals like physiotherapists, as well as third sector workers.

The aim is for patients to get the right service as quickly as possible, with more same-day services, and developing urgent care 24/7 services. These will be through face-to-face meetings, telephone consultations or web services.

The test model will also free up GP time, allowing them to give more focus to patients who require their assessment as expert medical generalists – rebalancing workloads and easing pressure on family doctors.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

"Our £85 million Primary Care Fund is supporting this work, allowing us to work effectively with GPs to design services that are both fit for the future and meet the needs of the people of Scotland.

"The Lanarkshire test sites are at the forefront of the transformation – helping patients see the right person at the right time. Bringing together a wide range of health professionals on one site.

"GPs play a central role in supporting people to live well within our communities – by developing multidisciplinary teams we will help our GPs focus on the patients who would benefit from their assessment and ensure everyone sees a skilled professional as quickly as possible."

Craig Cunningham, Head of Health, South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said:

"It is essential that we develop new and creative ways to deliver services if we are to provide the best possible care to the people of Lanarkshire, and close the gap between those with the best opportunity for good health and those with the greatest health inequalities.

"This project is an exciting opportunity to meet this challenge in Lanarkshire by testing new ways of working that have the potential to transform how people access primary care services. We are delighted to be at the forefront of this work which will make the best use of our staff's specialist skills to deliver improved care and outcomes for our patients."

Notes to editors

The Lanarkshire testing will build on progress already underway to make GP and primary care services more sustainable long-term, including:

  • £85 million three-year investment in primary care which supports the development of a National Delivery Plan to take forward the recommendations of Sir Lewis Ritchie's National Review of Out of Hours Services; support GP recruitment, retention and leadership; develop online GP services; build capacity and capability of the primary care workforce; purchase equipment and support the Scottish School of Primary Care to assist evaluation of this work.
  • Five primary care test sites already up and running in Inverclyde, Govan, Edinburgh, Tayside and Grampian.
  • The Lanarkshire models including a pharmacy-focused test being developed in Coatbridge.
  • GP training places are being increased by a third from this year and increased support for return to practice schemes.
  • Working with the BMA to develop a brand new three-year contract for GPs in Scotland from 2017.
This follows the announcement of £10 million to fund a National Delivery Plan to transform urgent care.