Chatteris doctors will buy in health services closer to home for their patients in pilot scheme

PUBLISHED: 16:53 13 December 2010

George Clare Surgery, Chatteris

George Clare Surgery, Chatteris

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A PILOT scheme will see Chatteris GPs involved in buying health care services for their patients.

As well as the traditional range of family doctor services, GPs in the Isle of Ely Health Cluster will also be responsible for buying in hospital services and community and mental health services for their patients.

The scheme will lead to more services being available locally at surgeries, in the homes of patients and at Doddington and the Princess of Wales Hospitals.

The Isle of Ely Health Cluster and Cam Health are the latest clusters to be launched. Chatteris GPs will be working with doctors in East Cambs to buy in services.

Dr John Jones, GP lead of the Isle of Ely Health Cluster said: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to develop a GP Commissioning Cluster which will empower us to provide a full range of services to patients at a local level.

“We have put together a plan which looks at the ways in which we can ensure the best health care services possible for people in our area - which we now look forward to being able to implement.”

Health services have up to now been bought by Primary Care Trusts, with GPs who know their patients best, not involved in the process.

Clusters will bring decision making to a more local level and will mean the needs of patients are better met by GPS who know their areas. GPs will have both clinical and financial responsibility.

The introduction of pilot GP clusters is in line with proposed changes to the health system outlined in a recent White Paper.

At first the clusters will buy an agreed range of services for their patients but over time they will assume responsibility for a wider range of services. Patients will notice more services are becoming available closer to home as GPs come up with alternatives to more traditional, hospital based models of care.

Isle of Ely Cluster has already come up with a list of priorities which includes:

• Development of community services so patients can be treated closer to home and reduce the number of unnecessary hospital visits.

• A fracture clinic at the Princess of Wales hospital in Ely.

• A community based diabetic service based within GP practices. Patients will be given support to manage their condition themselves.

• A community based dermatology service using a range of specialists and allowing patients to be treated closer to home.

• Implementation of a one stop patch testing allergy clinic in the community.

• A one stop urology clinic where patients will have their first clinic appointment, diagnostic tests and if necessary receive treatment all in one visit.

• A register of patients with long term conditions to help identify the needs of patients and priorities for the future.

There are six GP practices in the Isle of Ely cluster including two at Ely, one each in Sutton, Littleport and Soham, and George Clare at Chatteris. Patients will be asked by GPs for their views on services to help clusters decide on priorities for change.

Dr Jones said: “ I don’t think things will be revolutionise over night, it will be more trying to link up existing pathways to see if we can bring them together and make them more efficient.”

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