GP practices to pull together under one roof

Dr Alex Gaw, Clinical chair for NHS Lancashire North CCG.
Dr Alex Gaw, Clinical chair for NHS Lancashire North CCG.

Lancaster GP practices are likely to move into two new city super surgeries - one based at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and the other on the north side of the river Lune.

While some practices will continue to deliver care from their current surgery sites, other practices, where buildings may not meet future standards, will relocate to new purpose built premises as part of plans to reform healthcare in north Lancashire.

Last week, Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) published its Better Care Together strategy, revealing plans to radically shake up local health services.

Although funding has not yet been sourced for changes including the expansion of the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, increased services outside of hospitals, and two new multi-storey car parks at the RLI, the CCG said it could now make the case for extra cash.

Charles Welbourn, SRO for finance, Better Care 
Together said: “We are asking for a significant amount of capital 
to allow us to make physical improvements to facilities 
both within secondary and primary care – as well as some revenue support to allow us to undertake some specific projects to support major transformation such as extensive staff training and development across the whole health economy to enable staff to work differently.”

Under the plans for the two new GP surgeries, GPs and staff would work alongside other health care professionals in teams.

Dr Alex Gaw, Clinical Chair for Lancashire North CCG said: “GPs will be at the heart of multidisciplinary, community or core teams including district nurses, community mental health nurses, pharmacists, and social care so that patients experience a more joined up and comprehensive level of support when they need it. Individual practices in conjunction with their staff and patients will need to consider if a move to purpose built accommodation within the same locality will better meet the needs of their patients – this is of course subject to securing the appropriate capital funding.”

He added: “Extended opening is already being tested in Morecambe between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week as a result of a successful bid by GPs to the Prime Ministers’ Challenge Fund. If the pilot is successful it is likely this would form part of the evidence for a more comprehensive service 24/7 as we  review urgent care services locally to ensure we best meet the urgent care needs of our population.”

Mr Welbourn added: “Given the General Election in May, it is difficult to predict whether any additional public funding for the NHS will be available in 2015/6 and beyond but we will continue to put our case forward both before and after May.

“Monitor and NHS England are committed to continue to work with us on identifying suitable funding streams.”