GP services across Scotland are changing to make sure you get to see the right person, at the right time in the right place. The aim is to provide safe, effective, person-centred, sustainable health care services at the heart of communities for the people of Ayrshire & Arran.
As part of the programme of change, there will be the implementation of the Primary Care Improvement Plan which reflects the changes introduced from April 2018 within the new contract of GP practices. These describe new ways of working which will help address pressures being experienced in General Practices.
Why Are Services Changing?
GP Practices have been under significant and increasing strain for the last few years. The population is growing, as are the number of people who have long-term conditions and complex health needs.
Currently, GPs see most people who come into their local practice, even though there are other health professionals who may be more of a specialist in dealing with your symptoms. In the future, where it is safe, appropriate and improves patient care, some of the tasks currently being carried out by GPs will be performed by other members of the multi-disciplinary team who will be based in your practice or made available to patients from another site.
The multi-disciplinary teams will consist of:
Advanced Nurse Practitioners who are highly experienced senior nurses who can assist a patient, diagnose, prescribe and treat clinical conditions. They can also refer, admit and discharge where appropriate.
GP Pharmacists who can support prescribing processes, provide medication reviews and run specialised clinics.
Advanced Musculoskeletal (MSK) Physiotherapists who can assess and treat pain that affects muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones.
Mental Health Practitioners who will work with individuals providing assessment of possible mental illness at a practice level.
Community Link Workers / Connectors who will work with patients to help them navigate and engage with wider services.
It is important to emphasise that your GP in Ayrshire & Arran will still be there and available to you when you really need them. The aim is that GPs, over time, will assume their role as “Expert Medical Generalists” (EMGs) and support those patients with the most complex conditions.
When you call your GP practice, the Practice Receptionist or Administrator may ask you some questions to find out who the right professional is to help you, to ensure that you are seen by the right person, at the right time and the right place. For example, if you have a muscular complaint, you may be offered an appointment with the Advanced (MSK) Physiotherapist.
What’s Happening Now?
Not everything will change immediately. The improvement plan covers the work they are doing over the next three years. This will involve planning how the new teams will look, recruiting and training the right staff and placing them in local communities where their skills and knowledge will be best used. We expect GP practices to change over time and when you visit for an appointment you may be seen by another healthcare professional. At all times your health and well being will be at the centre of the services that are delivered.