January 13, 2020
With GP appointments becoming as rare as gold dust, one doctor’s practice is trialling a new way to offer patients the support they need – under pretty stretched circumstances.
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With increasing numbers of people nationwide waiting up to three weeks for a doctor’s appointment, Parchmore Medical Centre in Surrey is offering group GP appointments where multiple patients can have a health lesson, of sorts, with a medical professional – and rather than 10 minutes or less, it lasts over an hour.
The group appointment isn’t for diagnosing issues, but rather for monitoring patients’ health and informing them on lifestyle changes and treatment plans that could help in the future.Related... 1 In 3 Can't Get Through To Their GP – So What Can You Do Instead? Dr Zoe Williams, from BBC show Trust Me I’m A Doctor, spoke to one of the clinic’s patients, Anthony, who had weight and blood pressure issues. He attended a group session with six other people with weight issues or pre-diabetes, which lasted an hour and a half.
The appointment began with a facilitator going around the room taking patients’ measurements and speaking to them about any questions they wanted answering in the session. Patient details such as body mass index (BMI), body measurements and blood pressure were written up on a board in front of the group, so the GP could lead a discussion around them.
During this time, patients opened up about related symptoms and issues they’d been experiencing – ranging from gut health to mental health issues. The idea of a group session is nothing new for the NHS, which already runs group talking therapy sessions for people with poor mental health. During sessions, people learn techniques to cope with mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
A spokesperson for the NHS Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which Parchmore falls under, said there was no plan to end one-to-one appointments and added that group sessions simply “add something extra” for patients.
Parchmore has also been leading the charge on “community prescribing” in an attempt to free up GPs’ time. The trial has seen patients sent to fitness classes, debt lessons and housing advice sessions in community centres, churches and pubs, the Guardian reported.
It came after doctors from the practice reported that every third appointment involved an issue they were not qualified to help with.
In the year leading to July 2018, Parchmore saw a 20% reduction in hospital outpatient referrals and a 4% drop in emergency hospital admissions from its practice.Related... 'I've Been Trying To Get The Coil For 6 Months': Women Are Failing To Access Contraception 8 In 10 Men Are Putting Up With Pain Instead Of Seeing Their GP – Why? GP Faces Backlash Over Call To Charge 50p For Doctor’s Appointments Raynaud's Disease Impacts 1 In 5 People – But Many Have Never Heard Of It How Do DIY Smear Tests Work – And Are They Available On The NHS?
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