South Tyneside CCG trial new approach for managing demand on GP services

An innovative approach to reducing pressure on GP practices has been trialled in South Tyneside as a result of services in the area working collaboratively to explore ways in which pharmacies could alleviate the pressures.

GP2Pharmacy involved GP reception teams following a protocol to identify patients with specific conditions who could be referred directly to a community pharmacist. Processes and governance around pharmacies were set up using ten specified Patient Group Directives (PGDs) for medication, which were unique to the project. Pharmacies interested in joining the scheme could attend events in the area where they could be trained by GPs in how to use the PGDs.

Patients with specific conditions linked to the PGDs would then be offered a fixed time appointment with one of twenty local community pharmacists. Appointments were booked using the GP2Pharmacy application, and allowed patients to be marked as arrived and seen, with outcomes recorded in the pharmacy system and the GP practice notified. This system also allowed data to be captured and analysed, providing the CCG with analysis opportunities.

Karen Large, Strategy and Innovation Lead for South Tyneside Health Collaboration, said that the system “opens additional capacity at the GP practice for patients who urgently need to see a doctor.

“From a patient safety aspect, they can be assured the patient is getting the most appropriate care and often quicker access. It also brings additional revenue to the pharmacy and is part of their daily routine seeing patients at fixed times which helps their planning processes, and firmly puts them within the primary care space offering services directly to patients.”

Andre Yeung, Local Professional Network Chair (Pharmacy) for NHS England and NHS Improvement, added: “GP2P is an innovative service that increases the functionality of community pharmacists so they can better manage and treat patients with minor illnesses in the community.”

To read the case study, please click here.