The introduction of a new initiative has resulted in increased capacity for Derry GPS.
Derry GP Federation of Family Practices in association with the Western Health and Social Care Trust has officially launched the major 'transformation' initiative, funded by the Department of Health.
The implementation of Primary Care Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs) in the local area consists of physiotherapists, social workers, social work assistants and mental health practitioners, who work in GP practices alongside the existing practice teams to provide enhanced access to health and social care services within a primary care setting.
Patients registered to a MDT practice are able to book an appointment directly with any of these new services, without first having to see their GP.
The model also includes significant investment in additional nursing specialist roles such as health visiting and district nursing.
The Derry GP Federation was one of the first areas in Northern Ireland to benefit from this transformation initiative.
Since its introduction, just over one year ago, over 20,000 patient appointments have taken place with these new MDT staff.
The project has recruited significant numbers of additional staff to work within GP practices.
Seventy two staff are already in post and 52 more are due to start in coming months.
To accommodate these additional staff, a significant programme of capital investment in the buildings which house GP practices has been accompanying the project.
Dr Martin McCloskey, chairperson of the Derry Federation of Family Practices, said the introduction of the initiative in the Derry area had resulted in an increase in capacity in GP practices.
“The approach sees our practice teams being supported to identify opportunities for early intervention, with an increased focus on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of our communities. We are now beginning to see the rewards and are confident that MDTs will not only improve the health and well being of our local communities but help to secure the future of general practice in the North West.”
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