Wokingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has welcomed the publication of the NHS England Area Team's report in response to concerns about GP access raised at a meeting in April held by Rob Wilson, MP for Reading East.
At the meeting, held at Beechwood School, Woodley on 10th April, local people reported difficulties and delays in getting to see their GP. Following the meeting NHS England agreed to put measures in place to address this issue and to report back in three months.
NHS England is responsible for commissioning GP services – while the CCG is responsible for monitoring quality. The CCG has been reviewing the quality of GP services over the past three months, to reassure themselves that practices are delivering and maintaining a quality service to local residents.
Ginny Hope, Head of Primary Care Commissioning at NHS England (Thames Valley) said:
"We have been working closely with Wokingham CCG and the practices in Woodley to improve access for patients in the Woodley area. We are very pleased that this has resulted in an increase of the number of GPs, receptionists, and phone lines in each of the practices. Alongside this the practices are also now offering online bookings for all patients.
"We will continue to work in partnership with the CCG and the practices to ensure that patients have the best possible access to services."
Dr Stephen Madgwick, Chair of the CCG and a GP at Chalfont Surgery in Lower Earley, said:
"The report shows that welcome progress has been made since April, with all practices recruiting more GPs. All have also looked to improve telephone access, with Woodley practice increasing its phone lines by 50% (an order was placed in May) and Parkside Practice employing an extra two receptionists."
"All practices now also offer online booking, having resolved outstanding software issues."
"As the body responsible for ensuring the quality of GP services for people in Wokingham Borough, the CCG will continue to work closely with NHS England to ensure that the concerns of local people are addressed."
"We will be looking to the final report to reassure us and local residents that there are robust plans to ensure that GP capacity grows in line with the population of the area."
In brief, some of the main steps that have been taken so far in each of the practices in Woodley include:
PRACTICE STEPS TAKEN
- 50% increase in phone lines – (ordered in May)
- Recruited a new GP – due to start in September
- Planning to develop one of the practice nurses into a nurse practitioner
- Two more receptionists
- Recruiting three more GPs to work across the practice
- Working with patients and the Loddon Vale patient group to review how the phone system works in the practice.
- Have recruited one further GP who starts in September and are looking to recruit more.