Expanded NHS support available for patients in GP Practices across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough
The support on offer for patients at their GP practice is expanding across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, thanks to thousands more healthcare staff working in local communities and the new GP access recovery plan.
More than 550 additional staff have been recruited into healthcare roles at general practices across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough since 2019 - meaning an expanded team of health professionals is now available to help patients get the right care when they need it, in addition to seeing their GP or practice nurse.
The NHS is raising awareness of the support available with community health teams, including pharmacists, mental health practitioners, paramedics, physios, and social prescribers now available in every part of the country.
Record numbers of people are seeking support from their family doctors but with one in five GP appointments for non-medical reasons such as loneliness or seeking advice on housing or debts, the NHS wants to make sure that the right help is available.
A patient can always see their GP, but the NHS is training more than 7,500 staff to better assess patients’ needs when they first contact their practice so they can be seen by the right health professional.
For example, if a patient has muscular pain, they will be booked straight to see a physiotherapist.
Dr Gary Howsam, chief clinical improvement officer at NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough said: “Record numbers of people are seeking support from their GP practice, with teams treating half a million more patients a week compared to before the pandemic, and this demand is only going to increase with an aging population so the NHS must adapt its services to match this need.
“While people will always be able to see their family doctor when they need to, locally the NHS is giving people more options with more than 550 new staff working in General Practice in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough since 2019 meaning patients can get specialist support from mental health professionals, physios, and pharmacists without needing to see a GP first.”
Public awareness of the range of support remains low. A new survey has found that over a third (37%) of people in East of England are not confident that they can identify the various health professionals working in a GP Practice, which could include clinical pharmacists, mental health practitioners, physiotherapists and social prescribers who are available to support them.
And nearly half (46%) of people surveyed said they were happy to receive care from another health worker, recognising they didn’t always need to see a GP.
To help explain the support available in the community, a new film has been released by NHS England, which sees three curious children go behind the scenes at a general practice to meet some of these professionals and learn more about how they help patients get the care they need.
TV doctor and NHS GP, Dr Ellie Cannon is also supporting the NHS campaign and, said: “As a GP, it’s so helpful to have a range of health professionals on hand at my general practice, as it means my patients benefit from a team of specialists that can help them in many different ways.
“Whether it’s mental health support or help with vaccinations or advice about their bones and joints, having more health professionals means that patients get the best possible care.
“Remember, by giving us more information about what you need help with when you contact your practice, we can get you the right care you need."
The primary care plan published by NHS England and Government earlier this year committed to offering people more convenient options to seek care including options to self-refer for conditions such as physiotherapy, podiatry, and hearing tests without seeing a GP.