A pioneering health service for Prestatyn will give 23,000 patients a much wider range of care when it starts in April, the man spearheading the project has pledged.
Former GP Dr Chris Stockport is leading the team creating Healthy Prestatyn Iach, which is taking over two medical practices.
The service is being run directly by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and is the first of its kind in Wales. It will run in tandem with Healthy Rhuddlan Iach, where another GP practice is also due to close.
Dr Stockport, BCUHB Central Region’s Medical Director, believes the new services will offer people easy access to a wide range of health specialists, with more than 60 staff across five centres.
Nine GPs have already been recruited with more due to be appointed, while new advanced nurse practitioners, physios, occupational therapists, pharmacists, community workers, midwives and diet experts will also be part of the team.
He explained, ‘This is a pioneering model of primary care for BCUHB and the whole of Wales in terms of the scale on which it will be done.
‘Elements of it have been used before in other parts of the UK but not for 23,000 people in one service.
‘This model of primary care is part of what the Welsh Health Minister calls ‘prudent health care’ and is all about making sure we are doing the right things for people – neither under nor over treating them.
It has been all too common, not just in Wales but elsewhere in the UK, to make health services too complicated, perhaps giving out pills before looking at a wider range of things you can do to improve somebody’s wellbeing.
‘For instance, with diabetes the treatment has tended to be about prescribing a series of medicines without spending enough time helping with diet and other lifestyle factors.
‘With the new service we’ll spend more time looking at these other areas before jumping in with more complicated treatments.
‘Another reason for adopting the new service is there’s clear evidence that over the next 10 years the UK will not be training enough GPs to replace those who leave the NHS, if we do not refresh the way we work. One solution to this is to have other health professionals take on some of doctors’ current duties, giving them more time to concentrate on their core role.’