This Brighton-based hub serves two clinics along the south coast. They highlight many of the advantages Practice Assist has to offer GPs and patients alike. Since implementing Practice Assist, the practice has increased its clinical capacity and reduced pressure on the resident practice team. The positive impact of this additional support has been most noticeable in the busy period after a bank holiday.
Practice partner Lindsay Coleman said: "The week after a bank holiday, and particularly around Christmas, is always extremely busy, we really benefited from the extra support. We immediately felt the effect of having the extra resource working alongside our own GPs."
“To effectively manage our busy winter period, we purchased more than 100 additional sessions from Practice Assist, sometimes even on the day itself, and the additional and flexible support the team bring is invaluable. Knowing that flexibility and resilience is there is reassuring.”
Making a significant change to the appointment system requires time and patience from all involved. Benfield Valley employ six GPs, four nurses, two HCAs and a support team; all the team underwent training to understand the new process with the support of the Practice Assist team.
Lindsay added: "The Practice Assist team are supportive throughout, from preparation through to launch. When the service went live, we were having daily conference calls with the support team to give feedback and fine-tune the service."
Patients are the most important consideration when making changes to how they access their healthcare. Feedback so far for Practice Assist has been very positive, with 100 per cent of patients saying that they were satisfied with their phone consultation and that the GPs on the phone addressed their concerns effectively.
One patient commented “The GP was very patient in listening to my concerns. I am very satisfied with the prompt response”, with another saying “I am very happy with the service I received”.
Feedback from Benfield Valley Healthcare demonstrates the team is very pleased with the Practice Assist service, which has been described as having "delivered exactly what it said on the tin". We are delighted that they can utilise the Practice Assist network of GPs to provide additional cover even at short notice, for example when a locum is unable to attend a booked session.
Lindsay said: “It’s early days yet, but we are feeling very comfortable with the high quality of care our patients are receiving. Practice Assist GPs offer high quality care and are quick to fix small problems that arise. It’s just like having one of your own locums – just based in a different building rather than a consulting room down the corridor.”