Patients visiting their GP in Lincolnshire will now be offered better access to specialist health services, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.
From yesterday (Monday), surgeries and practices across the East Midlands region are said to be coming together to form teams offering patients more convenient access to treatment and support from physiotherapists, therapists and other professionals.
By giving more people access to different types of care, it is claimed the new primary care networks will free up family doctors to devote more time and attention to the sickest patients.
Across the country, around 7,000 GP practices have signed-up to the new model, supported by billions of pounds of extra investment in GP services.
As well as more convenient access to treatment without the need for a lengthy referral, GPs will be supported to do more to tackle killer conditions like cancer, heart disease and diabetes, while also offering more support for people with conditions like depression and anxiety, by basing mental health therapists in surgeries.
Dr Nigel Sturrock, Medical Director for NHS England (Midlands), said: “Today signals the start of a new era for general practice. Primary care networks will enable GPs to move from reactively providing appointments to proactively caring for the people and communities they serve.
“We’re delighted with the enthusiasm shown across the region with GPs, local medical committees and commissioners working together to establish this one collective approach to help people in our community stay well for longer.”
Dr Nikki Kanani, a GP and NHS England’s Acting Medical Director for Primary Care, added: “People in the East Midlands will benefit from access to more convenient and specialist care through their local GP.
“As part of the Long Term Plan for the NHS, GP surgeries large and small will be working together to deliver more specialist services to patients.
“The extra investment, additional staff and more convenient care will be a game-changer for NHS patients as family doctors come together in networks which will not only deliver better care, but a more efficient use of vital NHS resources.”
The Clinical Commissioning Groups in Lincolnshire representing local GPs are yet to release how the new system is working in the Sleaford area, but setting up primary care networks across the region is the foundation of improvements to NHS services set out in the government’s Long Term Plan published in January.
To help family doctors deliver improved care, a new landmark agreement between GPs and national NHS leaders will see additional funding of £4.5 billion and the recruitment of 20,000 members of staff to support GPs, building on the increase of more than 5,000 extra practice staff working with GPs over the past four years.