Trust and surgery link up to improve patient care

The West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) and Glemsford Surgery, Sudbury, have embarked on a special project to work together to improve patient care, and have now officially joined as integrated partners in healthcare.

From the surgery buildings to the staff, the Trust will support the surgery and work together to create a new, innovative, strong and sustainable healthcare service in Glemsford and the west of Suffolk.

Stephen Dunn, chief executive at WSFT, said: “Together we will deliver safe, effective and more joined up models of care, ensuring patients receive the right care, in the right place at the right time. There are a wide array of benefits from this new partnership project, and at the heart of it all is patient care. The existing traditional barriers between hospitals, GPs, and community services will be removed. For example, patient records will be able to be shared between providers. This and other quality improvements from working seamlessly together will allow GPs and WSFT staff to jointly identify and address population health issues.

“We look forward to working alongside Glemsford Surgery colleagues to reap the benefits of this closer working relationship.”

This model of joined-up working is often called vertical integration, and has already been seen successfully implemented by the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust. It has seen the benefits of linking up hospital and GP services, beginning in June 2016, and to date has integrated with 10 GP practices and seen an 11% reduction in emergency attendances from the collaboration.

However, WSFT and Glemsford are one of the first partners in the county to replicate this new healthcare model.

Dr Matt Piccaver, clinical lead at Glemsford Surgery, said: “Joining forces gives us a real opportunity to work together closely with our hospital colleagues and to change the way we deliver care for the benefit of our patients.”

Kate Vaughton, director of integration and partnership at NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Having our local health services working together more closely is better for everyone, with improved outcomes for patients and more coherent working for staff. It is great to see this evolution in working between primary and secondary services which we hope can be further replicated across west Suffolk.”

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