All children aged five and under are now offered a guaranteed same day consultation with a GP in the borough of Richmond, Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm.
Most childhood illnesses are minor and can be safely managed at home, or with the help and advice of a local pharmacist. Parents, who are worried their child is becoming more unwell, or failing to recover, should call their GP practice to get same day advice or an assessment.
Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Richmond General Practice Alliance (RGPA), (a partnership of all the GP practices in the borough), hopes that by offering this service they will encourage parents to seek advice close to home, rather than travelling to busy Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments. This will enable colleagues working in hospitals to manage the busiest season of the year and concentrate on the emergencies they are trained to deal with.
Since November 2015, extended GP access, 8am to 8pm, seven days a week has been made available to all people registered with a GP practice in the borough of Richmond. Patients contact their GP in the usual way but may be offered a daytime or evening appointment in the nearest location to their home.
A patient who was able to get an evening appointment after work for her son said: “My son came home from school extremely unwell with a chest cold and breathing difficulties. Being able to get a GP appointment that evening meant that we didn’t end up in A&E, as we have done in the past. The doctor had full access to his medical history, and gave us the help and treatment we needed very quickly.”
Dr Kieran O’Flynn, Medical Director at the RGPA and local GP, said: “In partnership with NHS Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), we wanted to make GP consultations more accessible for patients, particularly parents, carers and people who work, fitting in around their busy lives.
“We also know that having a child who is ill can be worrying for parents. However, a high number of people who go to A&E could have been seen more quickly by their pharmacist, GP or at a local walk-in centre.
“GPs can treat most childhood illnesses and we encourage parents and carers to call their local practice to book a same day consultation instead of going to hospital. Our A&E departments are under a huge amount of pressure and are for people who have life-threatening illnesses.”
Local people with a smart phone or tablet with internet access can also visit the new free ‘Health Help Now’ website and download mobile phone app. People can check their symptoms; find the best place for treatment at any time; and get advice on when to go to A&E.
Notes for the editor
- The extended GP access scheme, has been made possible due to a one-off £2.6 million investment from the Prime Minister’s GP Access Fund, which aims to ensure patients across the UK have greater flexibility and access to their GP.
- Find out more about the new Health Help Now website and assocatied app for the borough of Richmond by visiting: www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net