Two innovative Glasgow community health services which improve patient choice, care and access have been highlighted in a new BMA publication – the ‘A-Z of Doctors Making a Difference'.
The document, which includes a foreward from the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, highlights the improvements that can be made to services, often through simple changes. 2 Glasgow community services, The Sandyford Initiative and Greater Glasgow Nursing Homes Care Team, have been included.
The work of the Sandyford Initiative – Glasgow's flagship emotional and sexual health development – has been highlighted. A system called ‘Shared Care' was developed to improve choice and access for service users. Under ‘Shared Care', Sandyford's sexual health advisers work closely with GP practices to provide ongoing support, advice and education around the management of Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), highlighting the importance of partner notification as part of the routine management of patients.
Staff at the Sandyford are directly notified of all positive tests for Chlamydia in the city, and each GP practice is allocated a named sexual health adviser who contacts the practice when notified of a positive test result. If required, the health adviser provides support and advice to the GP or practice nurse on the management of the patient including treatment and partner notification.
Care pathways within the system means that GPs have a number of options - they can continue to manage their patients through their existing systems without the support of a sexual health adviser; patients can choose to self manage with the support of a key link person who liaises with the sexual health adviser team regarding their patient's management; or the patient can attend the Sandyford Initiative for treatment. A dedicated telephone support line is also provided for GP practices to contact the sexual health adviser team on any issue relating to their patients and the management of chlamydia. Websites with further support to GPs - www.sxhealth.co.uk and www.sandyford.org – are also available.
Dr Rak Nandwani, Associate Director, the Sandyford Initiative, said: "This 'Shared Care' service is popular with GPs in the city with almost all practices in Glasgow signed up to the service. As well as offering a comprehensive, specialist service for patients, the Shared Care System provides GPs with access to specialist information and advice on the management of their patients' health needs. We are constantly trying to look at new ways of improving access for our patients and to reduce the previous stigma associated with sexual health services, and are pleased to have been included in this new publication."
The work of the Greater Glasgow Nursing Homes Care Team, led by Dr Jean Hannah, is making a real difference to those in nursing homes in Glasgow. Although visiting patients in nursing homes has been part of the GPs workload for a number of years, the team have expanded on this service to provide enhanced medical care to patients in nursing homes.
The service – which is staffed by a dedicated GP team, with input from other GPs and pharmacists - was established to address some of the particular difficulties faced by patients in nursing homes. The service improves access to medical care, primarily for older people, but also provides care for the significant number of younger patients with chronic illnesses, specific psychiatric conditions and those with learning disabilities.
Since the service began in 2002, more than 2,000 of the 3,700 people living in nursing homes in the Greater Glasgow area have registered with the service which has proved popular with residents, carers, families and nursing home staff.Dr Jean Hannah, Clinical Director, Greater Glasgow Nursing Homes Care Team, said; "Our current goal is to promote and develop stronger patient care centered partnerships with other professionals, palliative care team and voluntary groups. We are fortunate to have a committed enthusiastic team and are delighted that our service has been recognised in this BMA publication."