You may have noticed that, over the last few years, the clinical team at Barlow Medical Centre has expanded significantly, both in terms of numbers and the range of professionals and skills available.
Part of this expansion includes a range of healthcare professionals (HCPs) that were never previously available in General Practice. These HCPs enable us to provide a higher number of appointments and treat a wider range of conditions. At Barlow we have many of these new kinds of HCPs available to us, and these include Physician Associates, Clinical Pharmacists, Minor Illness nurses, First Contact Physiotherapists and Mental Health Practitioners.
They all offer appointments over and above the provision of more traditional GP appointments (not instead of), and they bring a much wider range of knowledge and skills to primary care than we previously had available to us. They are complementary to the role of the GP, and have never been intended as replacements for them, but they provide additional capacity in a much strained system and help to improve access to care for patients.
As an example, the Physician Associate (PA) is a role that has been around in the NHS for almost 20 years, and almost a third of qualified PAs work within General Practice currently. PAs are complementary to the existing practice team, working in conjunction with GPs to provide patients with improved access to care and continuity. They take medical histories, perform physical examinations, diagnose conditions and treat a diverse range of patients including those with acute and chronic illnesses. As a complementary member of the healthcare team, PAs are playing a critical part in the drive to tackle the backlog faced for healthcare in both community and hospital settings.
All of our HCPs work in conjunction with our team of GPs and are fully supported and, where necessary, supervised in their roles. Feedback from patients who have seen them has been excellent across the board.
Over the coming weeks and months we hope to put out more information across our channels to introduce you personally to these newer members of the team, and bring further information on their roles and range of skills. In the meantime they have appointments available to book through reception.
BARLOW MEDICAL CENTRE