The Coronacoaster that has been 2020 has thrown many challenges our way, we are all having to learn and manage the new systems in General Practice, with telephone triage, video calls and much more use of technology. We are trying to ensure we provide as many services as we can, in as safe a way as possible for both patients and staff. This ever changing situation is something we will continue to have to navigate for the foreseeable future and we appreciate your understanding. We are aware it has been a difficult time for everyone but please know we are all doing our utmost to provide the best possible care to all our patients.
I am very proud of how we as a PCN have responded to the Covid-19 challenge, from Warmdene’s response in the initial outbreak and the support offered by the other practices in the PCN and taking the learning from that situation and trying to make sure we had measures in place to increase resilience across all our practices. We as a board met weekly for three months to make sure we were all updated and as prepared as we possible.
We now have 5 practices within the PCN as Beaconsfield Medical Practice and Matlock Surgery having merged.
As we have grown as a PCN and the workload has increased we realised we needed to hire an Operational Manager. We are delighted that Karina O’Neill has joined us in this position. She has already made a huge impact on the operational work and with project management.
We have employed two Social Prescribing Link Workers through TogetherCo. Social Prescribers provide support and resources to patients and can signpost people to the many services available in the city. We are developing a self-referral pathway for this service.
We are one of the first PCN’s in Brighton and Hove to employ a MSK First Contact Practitioner. All our practices now have a physiotherapist working with them and patients will be offered a direct appointment with them to diagnose and manage muscular skeletal conditions like back, knee and shoulder pain.
We now have a team of three pharmacists working across all the practices who help with medication management and reviews, prescription issues and chronic disease management. We have recruited our first Pharmacy Technician, and are currently advertising for more to bolster our pharmacy teams and are exploring the options of pharmacy technician apprentices.
We have developed a Care Home team who are working with our biggest care homes to provide a holistic and comprehensive service to our care home patients.
We have held our first PPC PCN Patient Participation Group meeting and are planning a further meeting in the next few months. Please contact your practice PPG if you would like to be involved.
At the direction of NHS England we have to provide a separate “hotsite” space to see potential or confirmed Covid 19 patients. Some practices who have the facilities will be offering this on their premises; others will be working together and using a shared site at the Deneway.
We are the Brighton and Hove pilot PCN for the Sussex wide Patient Held Record project, called Patients Knows Best (PKB). We have been involved in the development of this project making sure it works for both our patients and for general practice. More information will be coming out soon.
What is on the horizon?
We are in discussion with Sussex Community Foundation Trust around staffing to help with the Care Homes and with a potential Frailty Team. We have been provisionally offered £380K to develop a long term project for the PCN that supports the CCG Primary Care Strategy.
We are excited about what the future holds; the next 18 months as we move to a post Covid world will have plenty of challenge, but by working closer together, we as practices within the PCN will be significantly more resilient. The new roles we have and plan to employ will provide us with opportunities to look at the ways we deliver care and services and create new ways of working to improve the care we provide to our patients and community
Stay safe and well.
PS. If you are eligible please make sure you get your flu vaccine.