New system at Beccles Medical Centre will see patients directed to specialist team member

The medical centre is based at the Beccles Health Campus in St Mary's Road. Picture: Nick Butcher.

The medical centre is based at the Beccles Health Campus in St Mary's Road. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Changes to the way patients receive treatment in Beccles have been announced by the medical centre.

Beccles Medical Centre. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Beccles Medical Centre. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The new system aims to make the best possible use of GPs’ time while ensuring patients see the right medical professional to meet their needs.

The reception team at Beccles Medical Centre have now been trained to act as ‘care navigators’ to signpost patients to the most appropriate staff member for their issue.

In addition, clinical staff with a variety of skills are now in post, including nurse practitioners, nurse prescribers, emergency care practitioners, pharmacists, healthcare assistants and therapists. They are trained to offer specialist help for a range of conditions without the need to book a GP appointment, which aims to free up doctors’ time for the most complex cases.

The changes follow on from a turbulent seven-month period at the centre which saw four GPs retire, four resign and another take long-term sick leave, forcing the practice to ask patients to self-care and only contact them with urgent medical problems.

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Dr Tim Morton, GP partner at Beccles Medical Centre, said: “It is no secret that many practices, both locally and nationally, are experiencing difficulties in recruitment and retention of GPs.

“At Beccles Medical Centre, we have continued to look at innovative ways to make sure our patients receive the right care to meet their needs, which includes using other health professionals such as advanced nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, paramedics and pharmacists to work alongside the existing GPs.

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“This is great news for patients as it means they will receive treatment for conditions such as coughs or asthma, for example, from someone who deals with those problems all of the time and is therefore an expert. This will also help us ensure the experience and wide clinical skills of our GPs can be used to benefit patients with more complex conditions.

“Having these new clinical members at Beccles has extended the amount and type of appointments that we are able to offer, while our newly-trained care navigators in the reception team can make sure all of our patients see the right professional to meet their needs.”

The centre will also be using its GPs more flexibly, and while patients will still have a ‘named GP’ who will oversee their care, the majority of treatment will be carried out by other members of the practice team.

Patients who would like to get more involved with the practice and share their ideas can contact the Beccles Medical Centre Patient Participation Group via the surgery.

• What do you think about the changes? Email or write to Beccles and Bungay Journal, 20 Blyburgate, Beccles, NR32 9TB.

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