Healthwatch Portsmouth has been raising the patient voice since December regarding access to primary care in high level planning discussions about the closure of the GP practice with local health system leaders and with Penny Mordaunt MP for Portsmouth North.
We had been hearing for a long time from patients concerned and anxious about their increasing difficulty in accessing primary care, including by phone or eConsult due to the succession of mergers of GP practices in the city. So during discussions about this latest closure of a GP practice Healthwatch Portsmouth is pleased its request has been agreed to for additional telephone capacity, more frontline staff to answer these calls and to respond to the likely increase in eConsult online contacts at those surgeries due to take on the bulk of the transferred patients from North Harbour Medical Group.
We have worked closely with health leaders in the city giving best practice engagement advice on the content of their second patient letter sent in early February to patients registered with the North Harbour practice. We attended two of the three patient engagement meetings that had been arranged by the surgery at the end of January to answer patients' questions.
We have been giving the patient perspective and engagement advice in the 3 discussions held with Penny Mordaunt and senior health planners. Options for how the city’s remaining surgeries can support the transfer of patients currently registered at the North Harbour practice have been looked at including:
bringing forward of the funding request to NHS England for a new GP surgery building in Cosham to replace the existing, outdated facilities
providing a high quality prefab for clinical use and community services on the old North Harbour surgery site in the intervening 12 months to reduce disruption to those patients who have been transferred and under the care of GP surgeries further afield in the city.
the siting of podiatry services that were being provided in the North Harbour building
When there is more news we will update this post.