HEALTH AND CARE: Working together to improve health care across Coastal West Sussex

Health news. Photo: Shutterstock
Health news. Photo: Shutterstock

THE Herald & Gazette has joined forces with GP practices in the area which form part of the NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). This week, Dr David Hobson, clinical lead for Primary Care Strategy, talks about the work they are doing to support GP practices.

We wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of the work we have been doing to support GP practices across Coastal West Sussex, to make sure that your family doctors can remain at the heart of the local NHS for years to come.

As you will have heard both locally, and through national headlines, GP practices are under pressure.

Did you know, for example, that 90 per cent of all patient contacts with the NHS take place in GP practices?

And as we all live longer, there are now more patients for us to see compared to 20 or even five years ago, and people often have more complex health conditions as they live into later life.

Giving everyone the attention they deserve within a ten minute appointment is most definitely a challenge.

We all want a strong local NHS, and together your local GP practices want to be able to provide you with the best possible health care, but to do this, we are going to need to things differently.

That isn’t to say that we won’t be available for our patients when you need us, but we need to think about how we can learn from each other and share our strengths.

Listening to patients, we know that a lot of people say they have problems getting an appointment at their practice.

We hear this, and have already started to look at ways to make this better.

We also need to consider how we can make the job of a GP more attractive.

Today, many GPs are retiring early or leaving to work abroad at an increasingly alarming rate.

We want to have the best possible workforce for you, our patients, and so we need to look at how we do that and support our existing teams.

For the first time, the CCG has brought all of our 53 practices together to look at all of these issues and to talk about how we can make primary care in Coastal West Sussex the best it can be, for now and for the future.

We are tackling this head on, and practices can see potential of working together and combining knowledge and expertise to make our local NHS a leading example.

Some of the words used to describe the conference were brilliant – ‘hope’, ‘inspiring’, ‘enthusiasm’, ‘opportunities’, and most importantly ‘what next?’

This week we came together again to address the ‘what next?’ and to get practical and really think about how we would make our dreams a reality.

At the heart of our discussions are our patients – how can we provide the best care for our patients? How can we have enough time to give everyone the attention they deserve? And how can we improve what we do for our local community?

It is still very early days and we will be coming out to speak with patients and our wider community over the coming months, to share more with you about this work and to see how you would like primary care to improve, but it is a fantastic start.

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