As the region’s faces a doctor recruitment crisis, health care support workers, advanced practitioners and clinical pharmacists are being brought in to the service to support GPs. Di Anderson, pictured, is interim Out of Hours service manager, and she said: “We’re very excited by moves which will go on to establish a much more multi-professional approach to Out of Hours. This approach, which sees health professionals helping meet the needs of patients, is increasingly being seen in other areas, including emergency departments.”
But she stressed patients will still have to call NHS24 on 111 to access the non-emergency medical assistance. Di said: “The GP has the ultimate oversight of the work being undertaken, and will sit at the hub of the service – constantly overseeing cases and available to provide input. They will be complemented by the multi-professional team who will operate as spokes, either in the Primary Care Centre environment or via a home visit if required. Individuals needing more intensive services will be routed to the hub for treatment.”
The hope is that the new approach will help to bolster and sustain the Out of Hours service and Di added: “People will be well aware that Dumfries and Galloway faces the same difficulties around GP recruitment as the rest of Scotland. And providing an Out of Hours service across what is sometimes a sparsely populated rural area can be a challenge.
“Similar to what we are seeing across primary care in general, the harnessing of a wide range of health professionals helps to support the GPs in their work, and makes best use of all available resources. Across all areas of primary and secondary care, people are likely to encounter an increasing range of health professionals helping to ensure their welfare.
“Ultimately, what’s key is having the right person, at the right time for the right situation, with the right skills and knowledge to meet that person’s needs.”