Headlines: July 20th, 1999

Following the announcement of 19 NHS walk-in centres and the extension of NHS direct, the telephone helpline, new ways of delivering primary care are being explored in 171 pilot schemes. The Personal Medical Scheme Pilots will develop new ways of delivering modern and accessible primary care services at a local level. There were 400 applications to run the pilots which are a response to the concerns of the 60,000 patients questioned in the first national GP patient survey who wanted faster and more convenient services.

The pilot schemes will take different forms to address local issues. They include one-stop shops with more services under one roof such as provision for over 7,000 people providing diabetes services on one site such as eye screening, chiropody and dietetics, a nurse-led Urology service, new comprehensive nurse-led chronic disease management clinics and new local health visitor-led children’s clinics for under fives.

Other schemes tackle the problem of recruiting permanent doctors. In one pilot seven non-salaried GPs providing care to over 10,000 people living in a relatively isolated rural area will recruit salaried GPs to provide care to a number of elderly people who currently find it difficult to get access to primary care.