THIRTEEN borough GP surgeries will be included in the biggest shake-up of local health care in 15 years.
The new Primary Care Networks will mean community health staff, paramedics and physiotherapists and other NHS staff could operate from a single building.
It is claimed bringing health and social care closer together, will make the NHS more efficient and effective for patients and staff.
In addition, better use of technology and online consultations will free up clinicians time to concentrate on more urgent cases.
Cathy Winfield, Chief Officer for the Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group claimed PCNs will revolutionise people’s physical, mental, emotional and social health care and make it more digitally driven.
“It’ll be so much easier for people to see a number of health and social care professionals on their doorstep, rather than having to trek into hospital for consultations and appointments,” she explained.
“A smarter use of technology means patients won’t have to keep repeating their medical history every time they see someone at the surgery. The PCNs are also placing a greater emphasis on people’s social and emotional wellbeing and our strong partnership links with local authorities, the voluntary sector and community groups, is helping us identify what sort of care each Network’s neighbourhood wants.
“That way we can tailor the health and care services more closely to the local need and also identify who is best placed to deliver it. It could be that someone who is feeling lonely or anxious is better off seeing a Social Prescriber who can point them in the direction of local social groups and activities, rather than seeing GP and asking for medication.
“The knock on effect of all this is that GPs can concentrate on dealing with patients who have more urgent and complicated care needs.”
PCNs across Berkshire West serve a population of 528,000 and they will all draw on the healthcare expertise from teams at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, the voluntary sector, social care teams and staff at the Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust.
Added Cathy: “There’s been a huge amount of work done, both behind the scenes with GPs and health teams, and also at events with local people, to make sure each PCN reflects and meets the specific needs of the populations they serve.
“As neighbourhoods grow and evolve, we’ll continue our work with the people there to make sure the PCN facilities continue to meet their needs.”
Wokingham’s PCNs will be divided into four areas. The north includes Loddon Vale, Twyford, Wargrave, Woodley and Parkside. The south area includes Finchampstead and Swallowfield, with the east including Wokingham Medical Centre, Burma Hills, New Wokingham Road and
Woosehill, and Brookside Family Practice and Wilderness Road make up the west area.