A £2.8m bid awarded to SW Healthcare as a one-year pilot under the second wave of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund

Dr Gemma Moore, Lead GP of Stay Well Healthcare, the federation of all GP practices in South Worcestershire said: “We’ve got great GP services in South Worcestershire. This opens the door to more patients, more of the time so they can get that same standard of care in new ways at new times.

“We’ll be trialling evening and weekend appointments to see a GP through hubs in key locations across the south of the county as well as piloting a virtual hub, with phone, Skype and email consultations 7 days a week with a skilled team of GPs and nurses.

“Too many people are turning to A&E – we want to trial alternatives that work better for people through greater access and new technology.”

Beverley Priest, Director of Operations at SW Healthcare, who led the bid, said:

“Whether you use your GP a lot or a little this is a real change for people in South Worcestershire. Our pilot takes the quality of GP services in South Worcestershire to deliver more joined up care with wider choice and rapid access to GP support. Over the next year, we’ll be trying out new ways to help you look after yourself and get the right care where and when you need it.”

South Worcestershire is diverse – a city with mixed demographics, pockets of deprivation, then large rural areas with an increasingly elderly population. We are intending to influence how patients use our local health system, avoiding urgent care, offering different types of extended access beyond traditional core hours, and new routes to attract people into primary care in the way that suits them best.

 The essence of the pilot

Our pilot takes the quality of GP services in South Worcestershire to deliver more joined up care with wider choice and rapid access to GP support. Over the next year, we’ll be trying out new ways to help patients look after themselves and get the right care where and when they need it.

We are focusing strongly on demand management, the use of technology, patient education and influencing behavior.  The emphasis is on benefiting patients without creating more work for practices.

We anticipate that patients will feel the benefit without all practices having to be deeply engaged – it is a choice for a practice as to how much they want to be involved. The bid creation process clearly showed our members want the federation to front the delivery, and then practices and individual clinicians opt in. We will be operating a hybrid model combining salaried GP/local GPs contracting.

This is the earliest stage – we have yet to define outcomes with NHS England – but it is a priority for us to clarify for members what the levels of engagement (and the finances) might look like. We will then have a clear delivery plan. This document is not definitive, but captures what was in the bid.

We are told the monies will end in March 2016.


The content of the bid

Patients will be able to get same day primary care consultations seven days a week through a multi-disciplinary virtual hub (8am – 9pm on weekdays and 9am-9pm weekends). Using a range of methods – phone, email, appropriate tele-conferencing mechanisms etc, they’ll get same day consultations with a team of skilled health professionals who will have access to their patient records. If a face to face appointment is required during practice hours (8am – 6.30pm weekdays), the hub team will have the ability to book same day appointments in community pharmacy or with GP practices, wherever possible with a patient’s own GP to ensure continuity of care.

Patients will also be able to get evening and weekend appointments face to face as practices will be coming together through four locality based hubs across South Worcestershire. Open from 6.30-9pm on weekdays and meeting the busiest times locally at weekends, they’ll be able to get the same high quality care at other times close to home, with clinicians who can access their records directly.

The bid entails the following. Please note that the timescales and the detail of delivery are subject to negotiation with NHS England; this is an outline, not a blueprint for delivery.

Components are:

• Multi-disciplinary virtual hub

• Sharing patients’ records

• Utilising community pharmacy

• Interactive website

• Web GP for self care/smart phone apps

• Email and teleconference consultations

• Better connections between A&E, 111, community teams and out of hours services


Virtual Hub – opening summer 2015

  • GPs/ANPs
  • 8am-9pm weekdays/9am-9pm weekends
  • Telephone, email, tele-conferencing
  • Can book you an appointment with your practice if you still need it


Locality Hubs

One practice per locality to be determined through a collaborative process; Open 6.30-9pm on weekdays/to meet local need at weekends. Three hubs have phased introduction across the pilot.

In Worcester, this will be 8 hours a day to meet the increased need of A&E. The Worcester hub will open partially (evenings and some time at weekends), in advance of the IT systems and governance to share patient records. This is to meet pressing local need, probably June.

Same day community pharmacy appointments for minor ailments/prescription advice.


Online access and self-help

Smart phone primary care app/mobile internet site, with self help/self-care tools (Web GP) available to every GP practice for their website, helping patients navigate around the local health system.


Redirect high risk patients

Central access to all patient records means more support for those likely to need urgent care, like the vulnerable elderly by flagging them up in the system if they call an ambulance.


Reducing demand at A&E and improved pathways

Offering alternatives to A&E. Improving pathways, tagging patient notes to improve 111 services esp for complex patients. 111 to redirect to local hubs.  111 can book appointments with virtual and locality hubs.


Joining up services

GPs in and out of hours will have access to multidisciplinary community records, stepping up/down and using community teams better. A single point of access to primary care now til 9pm.