Four doctor's surgeries meet in Queen's Park to understand NHS changes coming to the whole of Brent
PUBLISHED: 13:05 25 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:11 26 March 2019
People from four doctor's surgeries filled a church in Queen's Park to understand major changes to how GPs will operate across all of Brent later this year.
Lonsdale PPG (Patient Participation Group) organised the packed meeting on March 18, “Will The Doctor See You Now?”, at St Luke’s in Fernhead Road.
The panel included Brent Commissioning Group (CCG) chair Dr Madhukar Patel and Sheraz Khan, non-medical lead partner at the Law Medical Group (LMG), which has surgeries in Wembley and Kensal Green.
From July 1 the NHS is requiring all GP practices across England to work together in groups called Primary Care Networks (PCNs), where more support staff will cover a bigger group of patients.
The four surgeries represented at the meeting – Lonsdale Medical Centre, the LMG, Park House and Blessing Medical Centre – have put in a submission to the CCG to link up.
It will be one of two PCNs in the Kilburn area and collectively will oversee more than 40,000 patients.
Robin Sharp, representing Lonsdale, said: “We felt we needed to know more about the initiative. It introduces a major change in the way GPs practice, how they are organised, and patient access to those services. It’s public knowledge, but still feels a bit of a secret.
“Our aim is to throw some light on the initiative and what it might mean for patients.”
He warned that the numbers of doctors are “going down”, adding: “Last year there were 2 per cent less than the year before. This is the main reason, the best reason, for introducing Primary Care Networks.
“We have to be ready to see not a GP, but some other professional. This will be intensified; we might have to go somewhere else to see them, not the regular surgery we are familiar with.”
Questions from the floor included what might go wrong, who was going to be co-ordinating everything, and whether patients would have to travel if their GP didn’t provide a certain service but another in the network does.
Dr Patel, who also practises in Harrow Road, said GPs would still co-ordinate everything and even suggested a possible “minicab service”. He said there were “things we don’t know” and things “for another meeting” such as digital access to doctors. “Over 70pc of people don’t need to be physically seen by a doctor and can do it over the phone; it’s about knowing your patient and your patient having confidence in you.”
He warned that sweeping changes to health care provision would see CCGs reduced from eight across north-west London to just one.
“The biggest challenge is building that trust and relationship between different practices,” he said. “Many practices have been working in isolation for a long time. This is a different way of working.”
Sheraz Khan identified areas in the country where linking practices was seeing results. In Buckinghamshire, for example, health chiefs identified that there was an aging population, so they devised an “over 75s team” that brought together support such as nurses and physiotherapists – which in turn saw a “reduction in hospital admissions”.
He said similar processes could help diabetics and asthmatics in the borough, those with heart conditions and even cancer.
He said: “If we get GPs with similar cases we can share ideas and tips. [...] By coming together as a group of professionals we can break down the barriers we come across.”
Dr Patel added: “It’s a golden opportunity for GPs to see what they can offer.”
Keith Anderson, who chaired the meeting, said: “This meeting was one of a number of initiatives the PPG is launching to support the practice team in these challenging times.
“Any Lonsdale patient wishing to get involved is invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
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