Paramedics lined up for Doncaster GP practices role

Doncaster’s family doctors could have soon have paramedics on their payroll to go out to help their patients.

Saturday, 23rd March 2019, 11:13 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 9:16 am

The specialist medics would be employed jointly by several GP practices, under a system of primary care networks that are planned to be introduced in the borough.

They could potentially be sent out into the community to help seriously ill patients who cannot get to the surgery.

They are among a number of specialist healthcare workers which are being lined up to help take the pressures of GPs, with a shortage of doctors widely reported.

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Some parts of the country already have paramedic practitioners. At Leigh Walk in Centre, Patient Nicola Jolley with paramedic practitioner Jo Cleworth. Picture by Paul Heyes, Tuesday February 26, 2019.

The primary care networks will see practices link up together to provide aspects of their services jointly.

Under the plans which have been drawn up paramedics would be working jointly for groups of GPs from the 2021-2022 financial year.

Before they arrive, pharmacists and social prescribers are due to be brought in to be shared by the groups, by the end of the next next year.

Pharmacists will be able to advise on treatments for some conditions, while social prescribers would look to help people who are affected by social issues such as social isolation.

Then in 2020—2021, there are plans to bring in advanced physiotherapists and physicians’ associates – a new category of health worker which is currently being trained up to work alongside doctors under the GP’s supervision. Physicians’ associates are less highly trained than GPs and can deal with less complex cases. They provide patients, especially those with long-term conditions, with continuity of care.

The networks are likely to be in place in mid-May and meetings are being held to decide how they should be organised, and which practices should link up together geographically.

Dr David Crichton, chairman of Doncaster NHS Clinical Commissioning, said: “There is a significant financial investment in this funded by the Department for Health.

"The paramedics could be used for home visits for care home patients who can’t get to surgeries, who present with serious acute illnesses.

“They already have paramedics at the same day health centre at South Parade.”

He added some of the work was intended to relieve pressure on hospital emergency departments.

He said some of the planned new physicians associates were already training in GPs practices in Doncaster.