Care in your neighbourhood

What we want to achieve

Over the next five years, we are investing in our GP practices as the backbone for joined-up health and care. We will recruit more GPs and expand the workforce with a wider range of health and care professionals available at your local surgery, including therapists, pharmacists, mental health specialists and social care providers.

Our 179 practices are joining together to form 26 primary care networks across mid and south Essex. These 26 local networks will each take responsibility for the health and care of their registered population (around 30,000 – 50,000 people), working together with hospitals, community services, social care and you.

Where we are now

  • Mid and south Essex has some of the lowest levels in the country of general practice staff. All five CCG areas have below the average number of GPs per head of population.
  • With retirements coming up, we could lose up to 50% of GPs and 25% practice nurses in a worst-case scenario by 2020/21.
  • Already, GPs are facing unmanageable workloads. They rely heavily on locums, which is expensive and deprives patients of good service continuity.
  • Staff morale is low and the impact on patient care is evident with variable quality in services. General practices in all five CCGs score below average in terms of the number of their patients who would recommend their practice to others.
  • We have measured the weekly demand for appointments versus the availability of appointments and found a gap of around 20,000 appointments that are unavailable across mid and south Essex. If we did nothing at all, the gap could rise to 60,000 appointments a week by 2020/21.
  • We have reviewed this in detail, looked at what is happening in other parts of the country and developed our strategy from national and international evidence, including NHS England’s General Practice Forward View (2016).
  • Our Partnership has secured an increase in the annual allocation of funds for GPs by an extra £29 million by 2020/21.

Next steps and further information

  • Run new recruitment programmes to attract 120 more GPs and other staff.We will work with the new medical school at Anglia Ruskin University. We will improve workplace flexibility, training, development and career progression. We will make mid and south Essex a great place for GPs and others to live and work.
  • Develop and change the workforce, so that there is a wider range of health and care professionals who can help you manage your health and wellbeing.Sometimes the best person for your needs is a pharmacist, or a nurse, or a therapist – not always a GP.
  • Help practices to develop their local network. Many practices are already working together to share administrative tasks, broaden their range of services and increase the number of appointments on offer to patients. We have earmarked around £9 million to help practices join up along with community nurses, mental health, social care and voluntary sector services. In some areas, this will need better premises; in other areas, several locations connected by IT and shared records. 
  • Introduce new ways to solve problems and treat people quicker and earlier. We know from studying what happens in general practice that around xx% of patients who go to their doctor would do better with quicker and earlier attention from other health and care professionals. One of the many suggestions from local people in recent discussion groups is to train a range of frontline staff to improve the first point of call for patients. This could lead straight to a physiotherapy service, without having to go through your GP, for example; or you may see a specialist nurse or someone who can help you with a range of problems that may be affecting your health. This allows more GP time for longer consultations to deal with more complex problems.

Examples below have links to videos or further information – Basildon and Brentwood care navigators, Castle Point and Rochford care coordination, Maldon scheme where young people are helping older people, Southend online consultations.

Examples in practice:

  • “Care navigators” to help you see the right professional or service

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  • “Social prescribers” to help you get the social care support you need, sometimes from the expertise of voluntary organisations

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  • More interactions by telephone and online
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  • Trials with automated systems that use the latest in artificial intelligence

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  • Technology to monitor certain conditions, without the need for a hospital or GP appointment

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  • Programmes to reach out proactively to people who may be at risk of illness
    Click here to see vide
  • Enhanced support for people at home who need joined up health and social care to help them stay well and independent for as long as possible.

Click here to see video