NHS England today announced the winning bids for funds from the Prime Minister’s £50m Challenge Fund to trial new ways of improving patient access to GPs and innovative approaches to providing primary care services.
Hereford based Taurus Healthcare Ltd. was one of 20 successful organisations across the country that received monies from the fund. It has been awarded £2.7m be spent over a 12 month period to enable it to implement a pilot scheme featuring 17 new projects including 7 day GP access.
The bid incorporated input from a wide range of organisations that represent the interests both of the community and the wider health service delivery partners including Herefordshire CCG, Children and Adults Social care leadership from Herefordshire Council, WMAS, WVT and 2Gether. It was also actively supported by Herefordshire's inclusive Health and Well being Board. Input from the voluntary sector, carers’ organisation and integrated findings from primary care patient questionnaires were also included.
Taurus Healthcare Chair, Dr Nigel Fraser, said "We are delighted that Taurus Healthcare has been awarded this money from the Prime Minister's Challenge Fund. It provides the opportunity to showcase extended primary care and the federative model of working that we are promoting in Herefordshire. Our experience shows that this will provide learning that can be extrapolated nationally."
Taurus Healthcare will offer 7 day 8am – 8pm access to GP care (provided via 3 hubs across the county) along with 16 more projects that are specifically designed to improve the service to patients as well as ease the pressure on waiting times for non urgent procedures and help reduce hospital admissions and re-admissions. These will include technology and video link appointments and an adolescent outreach programme delivered in colleges providing services not currently supported by school nursing. Another project will enable social care teams to provide assessment and holistic care planning for vulnerable patients. When the pilot ‘Improving Access, Supporting Primary Care Integration and Whole System Change’ is fully up and running it will provide an additional 90,000 appointments for the county’s 185,000 patients
Sue Price, Director of Commissioning for Arden, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, said: “We would like to congratulate all involved in the development of this fantastic pilot that when delivered will make a real difference to the lives of patients. It was up against very tough competition and the innovation and hard work of those bidders should not be overlooked. This is just the start for making changes that will hopefully carry on beyond the pilot year and we are looking forward to working with GPs in Herefordshire to deliver these changes to the benefit of patients... it heralds the start of a new era in healthcare in Herefordshire”
Dr Paul Harris, Taurus Healthcare shareholder and GP partner at Belmont practice said "I've lived and worked in Herefordshire for more than 20 years, the General Practice community working together in this way is unique and in the best interests of the patient community they serve; I am genuinely excited to be part of this innovation."