PATIENTS with minor conditions could be seen by nurses so GPs can focus on more complex cases under new plans.
Health bosses want to change how patients are seen as part of a consultation launched this week by the county’s NHS.
Those with complex health problems such as diabetes would be seen more by the same doctor and with longer consultation.
Consultations could rise from 10 to 20 minutes, a GP leader said, but those with minor complaints would be seen by other staff.
The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) plans would cover common issues such as sprains, and viral infections such as a sore throat.
County GP boss Dr Gavin Bartholomew said: “We are trying to maximise the opportunity for people with chronic conditions to see the right person and the same GP. They are better with an old-fashioned relationship with their GP where they see the same GP time after time and get that continuity.”
The change is vital for practices to cope with demand, he said.
“It is about redistributing the workload. There is only a finite resource. GP services are under even more pressure now.”
Rising prosperity means more people live longer but suffer multiple complex health problems, said Dr Bartholomew, OCCG’s primary care clinical lead.
Meanwhile the Government wants more care provided in the community so hospitals can focus on the most complex cases.
For example, people with skin conditions such as lesions can now be treated at GP practices with minor surgery and creams, said Dr Bartholomew.
This is vital to help hospitals cope with a rising workload – pressure that has seen targets for A&E and cancer missed in recent months in Oxfordshire. May figures show 74.7 per cent of patients were treated within 62 days of an urgent GP referral at county hospitals. The target is 85 per cent.
Dr Bartholomew, of Faringdon’s White Horse Medical Practice, said the OCCG is “very concerned” about this but longer appointments could give GPs more time to find a non-hospital NHS service for patients.
How you can help
- Remember to cancel an appointment when you are unable to see your GP.
- For convenience and speed, use a GP practice online booking system if it exists if you have internet access.
- Ask the GP practice which service is most appropriate for you; you may be advised to see a practice nurse or a GP.
- When treatment is ongoing, keep the same GP for a specific medical condition if possible.
- Be prepared for the GP practice to suggest other ways of contacting a GP, if appropriate, such as telephone and email consultations if these methods are available and if you have access to the internet.
- To get involved complete a survey by August 18 at oxfordshireccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/talking-health or call 01865 334638.
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