Around 20,000 patients use Portsmouth’s new 24/7 primary care service
04 March 2019

Portsmouth’s new 24/7 Integrated Primary Care Service (IPCS) has already had more than 20,000 patient contacts – seven months after it started. 

The service was launched at the end of last June to offer people registered with a city GP practice improved choice and access to out-of-hours care. It has linked the following three services for patients needing urgent out-of-hospital care:

* Acute Visiting Service (AVS) – a home visiting service for all Portsmouth GP registered patients needing urgent but non-emergency care

* The extended access service – to provide routine medical provision from Mondays to Saturdays to registered patients outside of core hours until 8pm, and urgent, same-day appointments until 10pm every day

* Out-of-Hours provision – accessed through the NHS 111 service, with GP care provided overnight from 10pm to 8am.

NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which plans and buys a range of health services, commissions the IPCS from the Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance Ltd (PPCA), which represents GP practices.

Patients registered at a city GP practice can now not only access routine appointments in-hours at their own GP surgeries as usual - but now also make weekday evening and Saturday appointments at a GP hub at Lake Road Health Centre in central Portsmouth.

New figures show that the number of people accessing the service is around 3,000 a month on average, which is expected. The month-by-month statistics have increased from July 2018 up to January 2019, but this rise was expected and planned for because the NHS always faces increased demand in winter.

More than 19,000 patients (these figures may include some patients who have been seen or spoken to by phone more than once) have used the Extended Access and Out of Hours scheme – around 40% of whom have required a face-to-face appointment, with the others “managed virtually” – by advice or prescription over the phone.

Also nearly, 2,600 patients have benefited from the Acute Visiting Service. Of the 332 home visits undertaken on behalf of GP practices in December 2018, 95% were managed by the visiting GP in their own home, many of whom will have avoided conveyance to hospital. 

The service continues to attract very positive comments from the public. Of the 162 patients (7% response) who have so far responded to a new virtual patient feedback mechanism, 96% recommended the service. 

Patients particularly praised the quick response time to speak to or see a clinician; the positive attitude, kindness and compassion of staff; the fact that they felt listened to; and that they received treatment when it was needed. 

Dr Linda Collie, the CCG’s clinical lead, said: “I’m delighted that the new service is going down so well with patients. It is also positively viewed in our GP practices too as it does help us meet some of the pressures and challenges we face in terms of access to our services.” 

Lesley Munro, Chief Operating Officer for the service, said: “I am really pleased that the service is available to help so many people when they need it. I am also pleased that the services take some pressure off our GP practices on a daily basis, whilst ensuring patients still get the access they need and deserve.”

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