Struggling GP practices in North Wales could soon receive support from a group of GPs, practice managers and other specialists in a bid to help them develop sustainable businesses.
Ahead of its board meeting tomorrow (2 May), the Betsi Cadwaladr health board (BCUHB) is suggesting to set up a group of dedicated and qualified GPs, nurses and practice managers to support practices struggling with workforce, recruitment and retention issues.
The GP sustainability and innovation team, or ‘flying squad’, will ‘support the practices in improving, developing and sustaining back office systems, clinical delivery, and workforce as well as estate issues’, the health organisation said in its agenda.
Best practice templates
Stephen Jones, transformational lead in primary care for BCUHB, said: ‘The team would use experiences from elsewhere in North Wales and draw from best practice templates to support practices on a range of issues, such as property law, contracting, backroom systems, clinical systems, and general service improvement.
‘They would work with a practice’s existing staff and offer training, coaching and mentoring, as well as hands on work to support clinical working.’
The proposal aims at offering support to practices ‘contemplating withdrawing their independent contractor status at an early stage’, said Mr Jones.
Around 74 practices in Wales could close or hand back their contracts to their respective health boards, and 13 practices closed in Wales between October 2015 and January 2018, according to data obtained by the BMA Cymru Wales.
Other proposals the board will consider include having advanced practice paramedics to assist patients requiring home visits, which would ‘release capacity for GPs to focus on planned care appointments in their practices and achieve better patient satisfaction’ and the introduction of a social prescribing service to help people become ‘pro-active in managing their own conditions and well-being’.