Barnsley Patients to benefit from greater access to GP services
27 March 2015

In October 2013 the Prime Minister issued a challenge to primary care across England.  GPs in Barnsley took up his challenge and today heard they’ve been given the go ahead – and the money – to put their ambitious plans into action.

The challenge was to “extend access to primary care” with changes that could be put into place quickly, that would make a measurable difference to patient care, and that could potentially be rolled out across the country.

The bid from the Barnsley GP practices for £2.5 million builds on the idea of a local doctor’s surgery being heart for each patient’s care. At the moment each practice works alone. The Challenge Fund money will make it possible for them to work together on a whole range of services.

The name of the bid is I HEART Barnsley, which stands for Improving Health, Equality, Access, Responsiveness and Treatment Barnsley.

For the many patients who use social media and the internet to manage the rest of their life, the same options will be available during these extended hours, with online booking, email consultations, video conferencing (face time appointments); telephone assessments and follow ups.

And for patients who may have many complex health and social care needs, there will be a wrap-around service that brings together the various people who can support them, so that the patient won’t have to find their own way through a complex system as they do at the moment. This will mean more personalised care, more joined up care – and fewer trips to hospital.

Dr Ajay Mistry, a GP at Chapelfield Medical Centre in Wombwell, led the bid.  He said: “It’s been a massive piece of work to get these plans together and it’s really exciting to find out we’ve been successful. Patients have been telling us that they want to be able to see a healthcare professional more easily, they want care that wraps around their needs and they want to have a choice of how they interact with their doctor and other health professionals.  This is exactly what our plans will offer.

“We’ve still got a mountain to climb to get all the plans in place, but now that we’ve got the funding we’re going to move ahead really quickly. We hope that patients will work with us as we introduce the changes so that they develop in a way that works best for them.”

The Clinical Commissioning Group will work together with the GPs to bring these plans to life. Dr Nick Balac, Chair of the NHS Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “I’d like to congratulate them on gaining the recognition for their plans. It’s a huge boost for the Barnsley area and a tribute to the commitment of our local GPs and practice teams to finding innovative ways of improving services for patients.”

The work to develop these services will start in early summer 2015.

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