North East Essex out-of-hours
North East Essex out-of-hours

GP initiative short-listed for two national awards

October 20 2016

AN initiative helping GP practices in Brighton, Manchester and Clapham run more efficiently and better manage patient demand has been short-listed for two prestigious national awards.

Practice Assist is an initiative run by Care UK, one of the country's leading independent providers of health and social care services. It offers surgery staff additional support at times of peak patient demand via a call centre staffed by a trained team which is familiar with the surgery’s way of working.

For the past year, the St Peter's Medical Centre in Oxford Street and Benfield Valley Healthcare Hub at Portslade County Clinic and Burwash have been utilising Practice Assist. Now, the initiative has been shortlisted for the 2016 HSJ Awards in the Improving Care Through Technology category and in The General Practice Awards 2016 in the Innovators of the Year category.

Dr Reggie Sangha, Medical Director at Practice Assist, said: “It is fantastic that Practice Assist has been shortlisted for not just one but two national awards in recognition of its innovative approach to improving patient care and access.

“With our background in urgent care and our tried and trusted network of healthcare professionals, we are ideal partners, helping to bring resilience to any practice. Working in partnership with GPs across the country, we are helping practices to enhance their call-handling and appointment prioritisation. Our team of UK-registered doctors and call handlers help surgeries to improve access for patients and offer genuine flexibility and choice.

“Practice Assist offers clinical effectiveness and administrative efficiency through a dedicated centralised hub that offers GPs additional flexible capacity and, where required, extended opening hours. Practices using our service see waiting times for appointments reduce from weeks to hours.

“The system works in partnership with an existing practice team to provide patients with telephone consultations outside of normal opening hours or during busy periods. Our team of experienced Care UK GPs has the ability to make onward referrals and update patient records. Patient feedback shows the ability to request call backs within agreed time slots is particularly popular with those who do not want or need to come into the surgery.”

Practice Assist evolved from a Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund project. Dr Sangha added: “The feedback we are receiving from surgeries we are working with is excellent, with a 91 per cent patient satisfaction rate.”

The HSJ Awards ceremony will be held on November 23 and The General Practice Awards ceremony on November 24.