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Two new services to be developed within Primary Care settings

Friday, 7 May 2021

Two new trials that will pave the way for Dermatology and Physiotherapy services to be provided within GP surgeries in the future are due to begin at several practices on the Island.

GPs and Manx Care clinicians have worked together to plan and implement the ‘first contact’ healthcare prototypes which will enable patients to see a dedicated specialist at their first appointment when presenting with relevant symptoms, rather than see their GP first for onward referral for specialist assessment. This new approach to providing care will offer patients a faster and more efficient route to seeing specialist medical professionals for treatment and assessment, prevent unnecessary referrals to other services within secondary care and reduce service waiting times.

Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Clinical Director, Professor Partha Vaiude, is leading this flagship programme at the Ramsey Skin Clinic to train a group of five GPs with an extended role in Dermatology so they can provide dermatology consultations at specified GP practices across the North, South, East and West of the Island. The first of these clinics will launch in Peel run by Dr. Helen Teare, an experienced GP colleague who has been working in the Skin team for several years.

The Dermatology in Primary Care service was launched by Professor Vaiude, Teresa Cope, CEO of Manx Care and Dr Helen Teare, earlier this week at a seminar at Ramsey District Cottage Hospital. Guests included a number of GPs from across the Island, clinicians and other project partners including three of the hospital’s Trustees. Professor Vaiude outlined how the local Skin service has developed over the last couple of years, the way the new prototype model will work, and how this will support patients with skin conditions and other dermatology symptoms to receive care closer to home within a Primary Care environment as part of the ‘Hub and Spoke’ model. 

Meanwhile, a separate initiative will see Advance Practice physiotherapists located within GP surgeries to help people who need treatment for musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. Patients will have direct access to these specialists – known as First Contact Practitioners (FCPs) – who will assess their condition and provide specific, targeted advice to help them stay healthy and well. They will provide one-off treatment as needed and, if patients require ongoing rehabilitation, make a referral to the Island’s central MSK Physiotherapy service. To start with, the prototype will be developed at both the Ramsey Group Practice and the Kensington Group Practice in Douglas, and available to patients of those practices initially.

The new FCP approach will provide faster access to the right treatment for patients, improve their experience and clinical outcomes, reduce waiting times and free-up GP appointments. Both this and the Dermatology programme have been developed by the Health and Care Transformation Programme as part of its Primary Care at Scale project, which is progressing recommendations set out in Sir Jonathan Michael’s landmark review of the Island’s health and care system, that a range of modern, efficient and sustainable services are needed for this and future generations. 

Dr. John Snelling is Manx Care’s Associate Director of Primary Care and a Partner at Peel Medical Centre. He commented:

'For a number of years now, patients have had to wait to seek specialist support and treatment for a range of skin conditions which can often be a frustrating and perhaps embarrassing or sometimes uncomfortable experience for them. Training this cohort of five GPs in the dermatology specialism will lead to faster access to the treatment that patients need, and in many cases will prevent them from ever needing onward referral to the Skin service at Ramsey. We’ve really listened to existing patients when developing the prototypes which has been a valuable way of learning what’s important to them and providing an excellent service that they want to see from us.'

Teresa Cope, CEO of Manx Care, added:

'This is fantastic example of effective collaborative between primary and secondary care which will increase capacity in the Skin service and support patients to be treated locally where possible and part of a ‘hub and spoke’ delivery model.'

Professor Partha Vaiude added:

'The prototypes are the result of extensive planning and consultation with Manx residents and clinicians. We will actively use feedback from the two trials as we further develop the services and expand their provision across the four corners of the Island.'

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