Access to GP appointments in Lambeth
NHS Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been reviewing GP appointments across the borough.
There are currently a number of ways patients can access GP advice:
- through the GP surgery where they are registered
- by appointment at one of the GP Access Hubs across the borough
- via SELDOC, the out of hours GP service
- at the NHS Walk in Centre in Gracefield Gardens Health Centre, Streatham
- and via NHS 111.
We opened GP Access Hubs in 2015. There are currently four hubs in locations across the borough which offer appointments when a patient cannot see the GP they are registered with. One of these hubs is in the same building as the Walk in Centre.
Not all of the appointments in the hubs are being taken up and they have the capacity to see patients who are currently using the Walk in Centre.
The hubs are open at almost identical times as the Walk in Centre and offer over 1,500 GP and nurse appointments each week. Unlike the Walk in Centre, which is located in Streatham, the GP Access Hubs are placed around the borough.
The NHS Walk in Centre service is delivered by separate weekday and weekend providers. The current provider of the weekend Walk in Centre has given notice on their contract and will cease to provide the service from 31 March 2017. This has given us an opportunity to consider in detail future plans and to look at primary care services currently available to Lambeth people, many of which were not available when the Walk in Centre was opened in 2009.
Our review showed that the Walk in Centre is mainly used by people who live in the south west of Lambeth and who are registered with practices in that area. The Walk in Centre also sees a number of people who are registered with GPs in neighbouring boroughs and some people who are not registered with a GP.
We spoke to patients, GPs and other key stakeholders as part of our review. We also looked at the cost of the various services, their capacity and how they operate. The findings suggest that change is needed to ensure we offer similar and straightforward GP access to patients from all parts of Lambeth; to make sure we are making best use of our GP Access Hubs, and to make best use of NHS funds.
We considered four options:
- Continuing to provide GP Access Hubs and using the Walk in Centre for weekday appointments only
- Continuing to provide GP Access Hubs and reprocuring the Walk in Centre weekend service
- Continuing to provide GP Access Hubs and reprocuring both weekday and weekend services at the Walk in Centre through one provider organisation
- Discontinuing the Walk in Centre and increasing the use of the GP Access Hubs.
At NHS Lambeth CCG, we are committed to providing Lambeth people with high quality GP services at flexible times and for urgent and non-urgent issues that can be dealt with by a GP or nurse.
Lambeth people told us they want us to develop GP services that are more accessible, more equitable, more fairly distributed and that use NHS resources wisely. Opening our new GP Access Hubs in 2015 was an important step for us to deliver what people need and what we believe we should offer. We do not think we now need to run both the GP Access Hubs and the Walk in Centre.
Therefore, at our Governing Body meeting on 18 February Option 4 was chosen. The Walk in Centre will close on 31 March 2017 and the use of the GP Access Hubs will be increased.
We gathered views from patients and stakeholders to inform our decision and heard views on:
- the potential benefits of our preferred option and how we might increase these
- potential drawbacks or negative impacts of our preferred option and how we might reduce or remove these
- the best channels for communication with Lambeth patients and people about our plans and our decision.
Read the report that went to our Governing Body and other information about the Walk-in Centre here.
Walk-in Centre paper for Governing Body and engagement report.pdf
Walk in Centre review report FINAL VERSION.pdf
Walk in Centre summary.pdf
Walk in Centre leaflet.pdf