Plans To Enhance GP & Primary Care Services Unveiled

Over the next three years more than 200 additional healthcare professionals will be recruited across NHS Forth Valley to support local GP practices and respond to changes set out in the new national GP contact.

These include pharmacists, advanced nurse practitioners, mental health workers and physiotherapists who will work as part of multi-professional teams with GPs. This will help improve access to services and ensure people are seen by the right healthcare professionals with the right skills to deliver the care they need.  It will also create additional capacity and enable other healthcare professionals to take over some of the work that is currently carried out by GPs, freeing up time for doctors time to spend more time seeing patients with more serious or complex health needs.

The recruitment plans are highlighted in NHS Forth Valley’s new three Primary Care Improvement Plan which focuses on the development of broader professional teams to respond to increased demands within primary care services, address challenges in recruiting GPs and meet the priorities set out in the new GP contract.

Priorities include the development of services that will see pharmacists working directly with GP Practices to manage medicines and prescriptions. Nurse-led treatment room services will be expanded and additional staff will be recruited to support the delivery of more urgent care in the community and provide additional support to care home residents.

One of the first changes will see immunisation work that is currently carried out by GPs and their staff being provided by specialist teams. This will initially focus on travel vaccines followed by childhood immunisation and then flu vaccine.

Other developments include plans to introduce additional mental health nurses to provide support for patients with mild to moderate mental health problems. This service is already available in a number of practices across Clackmannanshire and Falkirk West and will be rolled out across Forth Valley in the near future.

NHS Forth Valley’s Associated Medical Director, Dr Stuart Cumming, said: “A lot of work has gone into developing these plans as we need to increase capacity to respond to the ever increasing demand for healthcare in our communities.

“It’s important to acknowledge the hugely valuable work that our GPs do but also to recognise that many health issues can be managed using the skills of other professionals working alongside our existing Practice teams. Developing larger and more diverse teams we help provide the best possible care for local patients and I’m pleased that the initial response to our recruitment drive has been very encouraging.”