One of the most enjoyable aspects of being involved in an IJB is learning about the great work going on under the banner of integration. Speaking to or hearing from staff delivering vital community services brings into sharp focus how health and social care partnerships have enabled innovation to flourish.
I was delighted to experience one such initiative on a recent visit to the Collaborative Working for Immediate Care (CWIC) multi-disciplinary team based in Musselburgh Primary Care Centre. This project is designed to improve same day access for people who feel their need is for prompt access to primary care services. And access has improved through collaborative working with NHS24, Riverside Medical Practice and an East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership team, including advanced nurse practitioners, advanced physiotherapy practitioners, mental health nurses and mental health occupational therapists.
After contacting the medical practice, the person’s needs are established by Care Navigators with more detailed clinical triage possible from NHS24. This triage may direct people to an appointment with the CWIC team or with the GP. Depending on the reported condition, NHS24 may also direct people to self-care, local third sector support or their local community pharmacy.
The project has been running for approximately 12 months and has received positive feedback from people who otherwise would have had great difficulty in securing a same day appointment with their GP. The multi-disciplinary team makes great use of skilled staff, each best suited to deal with the conditions people present with, therefore people are better able to see the clinician most suited to their specific needs.
This model distributes demand across the primary care team, increasing time available for traditional GP appointments and enabling GPs at Riverside Medical Practice to offer 15-minute appointments as the norm. Also, at an organisational level, initial outcomes such as reduced prescribing and reduced out-patient department presentations demonstrate the gains possible through this multi-disciplinary approach.
The cultural shift from people always expecting to see a GP is gaining hold as people experience the benefits of the new approach.
MDT professionals highlight the benefits of CWIC see video below. https://vimeo.com/299251682
Peter Murray is Chair of East Lothian Integration Joint Board, and
Chair of Health and Social Care Scotland’s IJB Chair and Vice-Chair Group.