Support for newly qualified GPs, evening and weekend clinics to free up capacity in Portsmouth GP practices, and urgent care and support for people in their homes. Just some of the innovative new ways Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance (PPCA) is working with health and care partners to build GP resilience and improve care for patients ahead of the winter demand.

Made up of GP practices working together across the city, PPCA has introduced several new services to relieve pressure on local GP and emergency services. This includes:

  • An evening and weekend blood-taking clinic from PPCA’s Lake Road Health Centre hub site. It gives patients the choice of out-of-hours appointments, freeing up availability for practices to offer more same day, urgent appointments. From November, PPCA is also launching a new Saturday smear clinic, booked directly through practices in the same way.
  • ‘PPCA for Practices’ – provides locum doctors to GP practices to cover any gaps, sickness or specialist need, at a not-for-profit rate, reducing the reliance on higher cost agencies.
  • Working with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board (ICB) to attract more GPs to address the local shortage, through a new Portsmouth Preceptorship scheme. Newly qualified GPs have the chance to work across specialist placements such as public health and mental health for 12 months, alongside their role in general practice.
  • First Five Group – run for the first time in Portsmouth, offering mentoring, peer support and monthly training for GPs during their first five years in primary care.
  • Supporting people in care homes. The PPCA’s Telemedicine Service is run by Portsmouth GPs, giving 24/7 healthcare consultations to residents. Open to all care homes, 95% of patients using the service remain in their home.
  • Working with Solent NHS Trust to support its Urgent Community Response service, a crisis-response to people in their own homes which reduces the need for hospital admissions.

On 27 October, Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, paid a visit to hear about the integrated work taking place. Representatives from the PPCA, Solent NHS Trust and Hampshire and Isle of Wight ICB met with Mr Morgan at PPCA’s office to discuss the partnership working to reduce pressure on the local health system.

Howard Smith, local GP and director at PPCA, said: “The pressure on GP and urgent care services in Portsmouth is high, so we are using the alliance to absorb some of this demand, freeing up resources to treat more patients and keep people at home safely.

“We are grateful to Stephen for coming to hear how our partnership approach is working and the ways we are making Portsmouth an even better place for healthcare professionals to live and work.”

Stephen Morgan said: “Caring for our local NHS is a priority of mine, which is why I was delighted to visit Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance to hear more about the innovative work they are undertaking to shift care into the community.

“Reducing pressure on our local health services is key with increasing winter demand, so I am pleased to see a joined up approach is already working to free up resources.

“We discussed a range of actions to recruit more GPs, invest in prevention and community services and deliver better care for all of our city’s patients. I commend the work of all involved.”

PPCA, Solent NHS Trust and Hampshire and Isle of Wight ICB work together as part of Health and Care Portsmouth, a partnership of six organisations working to make health and social care better in Portsmouth.