Leading national GP visits town’s main health centre

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The chairman of the Royal College of GPs has praised the facilities at Morpeth NHS Centre during a visit to Northumberland.

Professor Maureen Baker also saw teams at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital near Cramlington, which opened last year, and held a round-table discussion with clinical leaders in the county.

Since being announced by NHS England as a ‘vanguard’ site in March 2015, significant progress has been made to successfully deliver the first steps of a shared vision to create a fully joined up primary and acute care system (PACS).

Working closely with Healthwatch Northumberland, almost 3,000 people have given their views and these will directly influence future plans to improve services. In addition, a new co-design forum has been set up to engage people as ideas for services are developed.

For the first time ever, and with informed patient consent, healthcare professionals working in a range of urgent and emergency care settings will be able to view a patient’s GP record to help inform key clinical decisions around appropriate care and treatment.

Work is also taking place to develop community-based complex care teams, with more specialists working outside of hospital to look after people closer to home and prevent the need for admission when symptoms worsen.

The Morpeth NHS Centre, which opened in 2013, brings together outpatient and diagnostic services, as well as primary care, under one roof to deliver better integrated care.

Prof Baker said: “This is the first PACS vanguard I have visited and I was very impressed with the scale of ambition and work taking place to improve the links between primary care, community and hospital services.

“I am confident that we will continue to see great things in Northumberland and further improvements in the quality of patient care, experience and outcomes for people living in this part of the world.”