Whilst preserving the best elements of the traditional family doctor model and recognising the strengths we already have, we must acknowledge that we need to move with the times, stay fit for the future and build a resilient and sustainable NHS primary care service.
We all have a responsibility and a vested interest in making it work if we want to continue to enjoy good primary healthcare and the best health we can.
Our vision is to bring together the key elements and services required to support our population in living healthier lives, with early detection and treatment of serious illness and help in living with long-term health conditions.
We also want to empower the individual to make healthy lifestyle choices and feel confident in self-management of minor day to day conditions and have a range of resources and support to use alongside the GP, recognising that many health or wellbeing concerns can be managed in other ways.
Placing GP’s alongside skilled nurse practitioners, paramedics, pharmacists, physiotherapists, mental health workers, social work teams and experts in signposting to other services, should make it easier to see the right person quicker. By removing the “GP bottleneck”empowered patients can seek the right sort of advice directly and achieve quicker and better health and wellbeing outcomes, with less duplication or ‘referring on’ that causes delays and inefficiency.
The Foundry will be part of a larger ‘Health and Wellbeing Campus’ seeing under one roof community health services (district nurses, podiatry, health visitors, school nurses) midwifery, social services, mental health services, pharmacy, substance misuse and alcohol dependency support, voluntary sector, social enterprise and more.
These many services can be accessed more directly and you will know “where to go” for the help you need. Our patient navigator team will be expertly trained to assist with this.
We understand it can be worrying to be ill, and want to be there when this happens. We also know there is a lot that we as individuals can do to reduce the risks of becoming ill, and we want our population to be re-empowered to take back control for themselves of their health, and be supported to make healthy lifestyle choices, engage with preventative health, and shift away from over-reliance on healthcare professionals for management of simple self-limiting illness.
Part of this involves education, and restoring confidence in our abilities to manage our health and wellbeing, both physical and mental or emotional. What does this mean for you? Does this feel like a challenge?
It is often said “no-one likes going to the doctor”, but we see our vision of the Foundry as somewhere that can be a place of healing, of restoration, of opportunities to seek new ideas and solutions, of health education and for meeting like-minded people with shared interest with wellbeing, of chance encounters, of art and creativity – not a place to be fearful of.
We all know the NHS is under pressure. We all have a responsibility to look after ourselves, to make effective use of NHS resources, and think carefully about how we use the service. To do this we need everyone’s engagement in having realistic expectations about how and when we see the GP so that we can provide the best service we can for all.
We need to have realistic expectations of how long conditions will take to get better by themselves, or how long we might have to wait if we are referred to a specialist. Most of us DO use the NHS responsibly yet we read about inappropriate visits to A&E, and overcrowded hospitals but yet when we really need its help we want the NHS to be there for us. We at the Foundry want this too and believe passionately in keeping the NHS as an effective, safe, accessible-to-all service, that we can continue to be proud of. We do not want to see a gradual privatisation, or dwindling of services.
The change has already started whilst it may still be a little time before we move into the new building, the Foundry ethos is already becoming a reality, both virtually and in reality. You may notice changes as the surgeries start to share workload, staff, premises and adopt shared approaches.
Exciting developments to bring a new GP acute services centre at the Victoria Hospital alongside the Minor Injuries Unit will be a way of streamlining new “acute health” issues to one team, whilst “ongoing health” matters, follow ups, preventative healthcare and chronic illness management will continue at the core practices with the opportunity for longer appointments to enable this. Continuity of care by trying to ensure you see a doctor familiar with you or your condition is also at the heart of our service design. Change can be unsettling, and we are continually making adjustments to try to improve the systems, but value our patients’ support in understanding the reasons behind changes which in the long term should see real benefits, even before we move home.