Every patient in the borough of Richmond can get seven-day access to a GP as part of a new scheme that was launched by Zac Goldsmith MP.
The scheme delivers appointments, operating from 8am to 8pm every day including weekends. Patients will continue to contact their GP in the usual way but may be offered a daytime, evening or weekend appointment in the nearest location to their home. New technology has enabled electronic access to patients’ notes, so the GP or nurse can better understand their medical background quickly.
The scheme is being run by Richmond General Practice Alliance (RGPA), a partnership of all GP practices in the borough. It was made possible due to a one-off £2.6m investment from the Prime Minister’s GP Access Fund, which aims to ensure patients across the UK have greater flexibility and better access to their GP.
As well as seven-day a week access and evening opening hours, the RGPA will also implement a range of innovative patient services to suit modern lifestyles including greater use of video conferencing, email and phone consultations for those who would find it easier. In addition, patient information screens will be installed in every practice to provide details on local NHS health services in the borough.
Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, said: “I want to thank the Richmond GP Alliance for their amazing efforts. This is a huge benefit the local community and I look forward to seeing the health benefits that arise from this scheme.”
Dr Darren Tymens, chairman of the RGPA, said: “One of benefits of this new scheme is that patients see a local Richmond GP at their nearest hub, who can access their medical record and update it after their appointment so their registered GP is aware. As well as the benefits for the patient’s health in seeing a doctor sooner, we hope the extended hours will relieve some of the pressure on local NHS services, including Kingston and West Middlesex Hospitals, by offering patients another option.”
Dr Graham Lewis, Chair of NHS Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “We are fortunate to have GPs in Richmond who are very committed to providing a high quality service to patients, their families and carers.
“This scheme, offering extra GP appointments including at weekends, supports the CCG’s out of hospital strategy which aims to commission services that are local and link up around the patient. Most importantly we know that with similar schemes across the country the outcome has already been to alleviate pressure on local A&E departments.”
All children aged five and under are now offered a same day consultation Monday to Friday with a GP in the London Borough of Richmond. Most childhood illnesses are minor and self-limiting and can be safely managed at home, or with the help and advice of your local pharmacist. If you are worried that your child is becoming more unwell, or failing to recover, then your GP practice will now be available to offer same day advice or assessment. It is hoped that by offering this service parents will be encouraged to seek timely advice close to home, rather than travelling to busy Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.
Parents with a smart phone or tablet with internet access can also download the new free ‘Health Help Now’ app andwebsite which is also available online to everyone who lives in Richmond. It functions like a mobile phone app and helps people to check their symptoms; to find the best place for treatment at any time; and advises when to go to A&E. It can also be accessed online by using your desktop and laptop computers.
It also breaks down symptoms by age –baby, child, teenager, adult and older adult. This is to make it easier to find the right treatment in the quickest time. Health Help Now, which can also be accessed by desktop and laptop computers, provides helpful advice – such as where to buy children’s medication when pharmacies are closed – and links to other useful websites.
Contact Amy Burns, Communications Officer at Richmond CCG on 020 8734 3016 or email firstname.lastname@example.org