It’s a familiar situation for anyone in local government – changing lifestyles and an aging population meet a widening funding gap, and something has to change in the way services are delivered.
A recent study by the NHS Alliance and the Primary Care Foundation estimated 27% of GP appointments could be avoided by using better technology and coordination between GPs and services.
Patients suffering from social exclusion, debt anxiety, poor diet or lack of exercise are often responsible for repeat appointments using valuable GP time. But, these underlying problems could be handled through other support services, allowing overstretched GPs to focus on patients with complex medical conditions.
The Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) decided take to action. So now, with consent from the patient, the GP can refer them to a Social Prescriber.
In partnership with Adur & Worthing Councils and West Sussex County Council, the CCG set up a new scheme, called Going Local, to get people out of doctor’s surgeries and refer them to non-medical services available in their communities.
To be effective, this ‘social prescribing’ approach, based around a team of Community Referrers who assess patients’ needs and put them in touch with local support, would also require a solid tech platform.
Luckily, Paul Brewer’s team at Adur & Worthing Councils had been using Low-code to replace legacy systems for some time, and they knew Low-code could help streamline processes at Going Local.
Encouraging early results have led the CCG to extend the pilot to a two-year scheme
The aim of Going Local is to reduce repeat visits to GPs. Patients are given easy access to the help they need with their underlying social issues; improving their wellbeing.
Evaluation of the impact of Going Local continues, but encouraging early results have led the CCG to extend the pilot to a two-year scheme. It’s also setting up a steering group for the schemes and is working on plans to start a service user group.
Beyond this, there’s also huge potential to extend the Low-code solution to deliver even more value.
“The scheme is reducing the demand on GP practices and provides holistic help to patients, rather than pigeonholing them with a single health issue.”
Paul Brewer, Director for Digital & Resources, Adur & Worthing Councils