Launch of a pioneering new approach to healthcare

15 Jun 2017 Sam Brown

We’re launching a pioneering new approach to healthcare this week, in partnership with five GP practices in the south west of the city.

The approach is built around the principle of patients receiving upfront care from a team of mixed healthcare professionals, either in the practice or the community, rather than having to go to their GP first for assessment. When fully working, this will support patients to get speedier appointments. It will also free up the time of GPs so they can focus on patients with the most complex healthcare needs.

Staff from Bristol Community Health, plus the Lennard Surgery, Grange Road Surgery, Hillview Family Practice, Crest Family Practice, Hartwood Healthcare and The Merrywood Practice are all working closely together to develop the new approach, which has launched this week with some new services for local patients – community clinics for people with lower leg wounds and primary care practitioners who support GPs by visiting and assessing unwell patients at home, early in the day.

Over the next ten years, we’re planning to develop the model so that eventually, many different healthcare professionals will all work together to support patients in a seamless way. Alongside this, GP practice receptionists will be upskilled to become healthcare navigators so that patients can go direct to the right healthcare specialist for their needs, instead of always having to see their GP first to access care. Our work in this area has received national backing and funding as one of 15 original ‘rapid test sites’ from the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC).

Julia Clarke, Chief Executive at Bristol Community Health said: “We’re delighted to be involved in this partnership. By collaborating more effectively with our GP practices and other care providers, and coordinating care, we can have the most tremendous impact on local patients, so that they receive the maximum and best service they can possibly receive.”

Dr Trevor Dean, GP Practice Partner at The Merrywood Practice, speaking on behalf GP partners across the Collaborative said: “This new approach has the potential to really transform healthcare for patients. When fully functioning, our approach will result in faster appointments with the right healthcare professionals and increased GP capacity, allowing us to undertake longer appointments with patients who really would benefit from it – for example, those with multiple and complex long term conditions.”

Watch Dr Trevor Dean, Dr Gareth Ronson and Julia Clarke speak about the project in more detail:

Dr Trevor Dean’s video 

Dr Gareth Ronson’s video 

Julia Clarke, Chief Executive of Bristol Community Health’s video


[1] The partnership is known as the South Bristol Primary Care Collaborative