December 7, 2022
GPCB outpatients group seeks to improve primary and secondary interface
The General Practice Collaborative Board (GPCB) was set up by all practices in BNSSG to represent the voice of general practice in system discussions and decision-making.
To ensure general practice is properly represented within Integrated Care System (ICS) programmes of work, the GPCB created its own infrastructure for general practice transformation programmes.
One of these programmes is outpatients. The GPCB set up a committee, bringing together GPs and practice managers from across BNSSG, to provide general practice input to the ICS outpatients programme. It is led by Dr Nicola McGuinness, clinical lead, and Ruth Hughes, programme manager, and works closely with the Avon LMC and the clinical lead for planned care at the Integrated Care Board.
The GPCB outpatients network is funded by the ICS, which allows general practice to be part of key discussions and decision-making in the same way as the acute trusts and Sirona. This is significant for general practice as it allows us both to influence the existing projects and raise our own at-scale issues at a system level to find solutions together.
This improves the relationships and interface between general practice and secondary care, which supports the new ways of working in an ICS: putting the patient in the centre and building support and services around them.
One of the successes of the group so far has been collecting feedback from staff in general practice about advice and guidance processes to bring into the system review of the service. This means the views of both primary and secondary care are brought into discussions about how to improve the service.
The network has also worked with the trusts and the Integrated Care Board to think about how data can be used to support understanding of waiting times for hospital appointments. Following these discussions, the trusts and the ICB are looking at how to ensure accurate, local data is available for clinicians referring into secondary care, and for patients who are waiting for their appointments. This is important to give patients a realistic expectation of wait times, and what they can do in the meantime to support their health.
Dr Nicola McGuinness, GP in North and West Bristol and clinical lead for this programme, said, “The GPCB outpatients network is key to ensuring general practice is represented in the wider ICS outpatients programme. Our successes so far show that involving general practice in system outpatients work ensures the patient experience at the community end of their care is represented.”