In 2017, Healthwatch Kirklees completed engagement with residents, carers and staff in care homes relating to a proposal to allocate one GP practice to each individual care home, rather than having multiple GP practices serving each home. In September 2020, Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (GHCCG) & North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (NKCCG) began to allocate one or more GP practices to work with each nursing or residential home in Kirklees based on national guidance provided by NHS England. This gave Healthwatch Kirklees the opportunity to see how our previous findings and recommendations had shaped this new way of working.
We made telephone contact with 90 local nursing or residential home managers between 12th October-9th November 2020. Unfortunately, we were unable to speak with residents and their families at this time due to the Covid-19 outbreak and restrictions. We asked questions around the information that had been shared, choice of GP allocation, what was working well and improvements that could be made. We also took the opportunity to ask about Covid-19 visiting restrictions and how staff and residents were feeling, particularly with the changing guidance from the Government and local Councils.
We found that the new ways of working of one GP practice per residential setting seemed generally positive for most of the homes, and they welcomed the changes. In fact, many told us they had been waiting for this change for a long while. Although It did seem more challenging for some services and meant an increase in work at a very difficult time.
In response to our work the local CCGs responded
“Thank you for undertaking this extensive piece of work to review the impact and experience of staff and residents following the alignment of one practice to one care home across Kirklees. This was part of our care home improvement programme of work and identified as best practice by the Framework for Enhanced Health in Care Homes. This was always going to be a challenge as we have twice as many care homes to practices. We also had up to 8 practices working in some care homes, however we did make some changes to alignment where possible, following practice or care homes requests. We’re pleased to report that overall the transition has worked well with only a few issues arising.”
Julie Oldroyd – Lead for Transformation