NHS leaders in north Cumbria are spearheading two innovative schemes to support general practice. NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been successful in applying for bids to support innovative new schemes in our area.
One initiative will support GP development and retention and another will see the addition of clinical pharmacists into general practice. The funding bids for the initiatives were made through NHS England’s ‘General Practice Forward View’ which supports general practice and aims to improve patient care and access by investing into new ways of providing primary care.
GP Retention Fund £130k has been awarded to develop a local proposal which will help to support GPs within the workforce offering a new innovative platform for learning and professional development. The Cumbria Learning Improvement Collaborative (CLIC) will be leading on this project which aims to support GP’s introducing new flexible working opportunities within the modern GP workforce and will provide them with new educational resources.
The project involves a new website ‘portal’ which will highlight additional sessions to GPs and present various opportunities that support flexible working and offers a variety of roles to help local GPs to support their own development of expertise in various specialist areas.
It is hoped the new process of highlighting professional development opportunities will raise the profile of north Cumbria’s general practice and be another crucial element in supporting the recruitment of medics to the area.
The project will also give GPs access to improved training and research material, providing important educational resources. The project is intended to achieve a very positive result for patients and communities.
A collaboration with North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust’s (NCUHT) pharmacy team will see nine practices in north Cumbria benefiting from this scheme. Clinical pharmacists in general practice work as part of the practice team to clinically assess and treat patients using their expert knowledge of medicines for specific disease areas.
They work alongside the general practice team, taking responsibility for patients with chronic diseases and undertaking clinical medication reviews to proactively manage patients on multiple medications with complex needs, especially the elderly and people in care homes.
Clinical pharmacists also have leadership roles in supporting the further integration of general practice with the wider healthcare teams, including community and hospital pharmacy, to help improve patient outcomes, ensure better access to healthcare and help manage general practice workload.
The role has the potential to significantly improve quality of care and patient safety whilst ensuring that patients get the best use of their medicines.
The scheme gives part funding for practices of employment costs for the first few years. This also follows another successful bid for pharmacists for care homes.
There is an opportunity for other practices to bid and expand, should they want this opportunity in the future.
Director of Primary Care and ICC Development at NHS North Cumbria CCG Caroline Rea said: “These bids were designed to further develop our local ambition and strategy and should offer great value to both patients and practitioners. “We believe that innovative schemes of this nature will further help to aid the extreme pressure and demand on our system.”