Invicta Health – Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund: Improving Access to General Practice
‘We provide GP access between 8am and 8pm 7 days a week, allowing GP practices and 111 to book appointments.’
Invicta Health Connect is a PMCF Wave 1 project that has brought together Folkestone and Dover GP practices with other providers to deliver 8am till 8pm access seven days a week in South Kent Coast.
The work required in Wave 1 was to develop a hub at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone and link this to all surgeries in Folkestone. This service started on 1st October 2014 and a similar service will start at the new Buckland hospital in Dover from April.
Our aims are to improve access, create an integrated solution to OOH services, enhance and develop out of hospital services, target services at specific population groups (particularly the housebound and elderly and care homes), work with providers and the CCG towards the creation of an ICO/MCP and to build a foundation for federated GP services that are able to deliver at scale.
We provide GP access between 8am and 8pm 7 days a week, allowing GP practices and 111 to book appointments. The service acts as a shared branch surgery for the Folkestone practices.
The PMCF Wave 1 project in Folkestone and Dover is fully supported by South Kent Coast CCG and the aims of the project align with the CCG’s long term strategy and Simon Stevens’ Five Year Forward View.
The pilot will enable us to measure demand accurately and work closely with 111 to assess the services needed and make any adjustments to operating hours. We will also use the pilot to contemplate a model for managing out of hours overnight in collaboration with GPs, the acute trust and ambulance trust.
We have developed a relationship with 111 during this Wave 1 pilot for directing patients registered with specific practices to alternative services at the Folkestone hub. This relationship will continue with the launch of the Dover hub in April 2015 with a view to developing pathways to provide an integrated service that can divert patients from A&E.
The difficulty we found was having the ability to connect all nine surgeries to the hub when they were closed. After extensive research and various meetings we decided that Premier Patient Line clearly showed the required knowledge in the medical sector regarding telecommunications and the ability to link multiple sites together via a central hub.
Premier Patient Line undertook a series of reviews for all Folkestone surgeries that would be linked to the hub and gave us an in-depth analysis of what each site had and how they would be able to push the calls to the hub.
The requirements that they had to cover were patients being diverted to a centralised number that would then hold them in a queue which informed the patient of a queue position before they were answered by reception.
All the calls were to be recorded and reports were required so we were able to see how successful the project was. The timescale for this to be delivered and fully functional was 6 weeks. Premier Patient Line took full control of the situation from organising the nine surgeries to have diverts put on by using either their own engineers or arranging for the surgery’s current provider to make the program changes required.
Premier also had numerous meetings with representatives from the Royal Victoria Hospital and had to overcome numerous obstructions to enable us access to the current telecoms infrastructure at the hospital without compromising the existing set up.
We designed our own specific ‘road map’ to allow Premier to deliver the solution at the required date, which they actually provided one week ahead of schedule and allowed us to run multiple tests to cover any teething problems across the whole project.
The whole process has run in a professional manner and we have been kept abreast of any situation that has arisen.
Invicta Health now manage Martello Health Centre on the Romney Marsh, and Premier Patient Line are upgrading the telecoms solution there. We have also had a lot of help from Premier Choice Telecoms for a bid for wave 2 of the PMCF which would include six further hubs across Canterbury & Coastal and South Kent Coast CCGs
Premier Patient Line have installed a fully diverse and integrated telecoms solution for our PMCF wave 1 pilot site in South Kent Coast. This has enabled our newly developed 8am-8pm GP service to be fully supported both remotely and at our hub using easily modifiable and functional technology and telecoms equipment. The ongoing support of Premier Choice has been invaluable as, in the ever changing environment of a pilot, things happen quickly and when things go wrong they need to be fixed just as quickly.
The system also allows us to monitor our call demand and call activity so we can see which numbers call frequently as well as showing how effective our call handlers have been.
What Premier Choice have been able to achieve on our behalf has been immensely valuable and our project would not have run as smoothly without their help and support throughout implementation and development.