Practice nurses in Greater Manchester are set to pioneer an innovative new style of consultation that involves them seeing groups of patients with similar long-term conditions at the same time.
Health Education England have awarded almost £100,000 to Greater Manchester and the North West to develop the new way of working that brings together patients with similar conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, to be seen at the same time when they visit their GP surgery.
“Primary care nurses face enormous pressure to deliver high quality care”
Group appointments, also known as group consultations, are being touted as a new way to practice in primary care that enables clinicians to consult one-to-one but in a supportive group setting.
The new care model was recommended in the GP Forward View, published by NHS England earlier this year, and has been previously piloted in Slough and elsewhere with GPs.
An initial evaluation of the Slough pilot suggested that patients enjoyed the consultations and that GPs found it empowering and rewarding.
Evidence has also suggested that frequent attenders attend less frequently and actively take part in in routine monitoring of their condition when it is part of a group setting.
The idea is that patients benefit from peer-to-peer support and improved confidence, especially on self-care, while practice nurses and GPs save time and can do more with similar resources.
Region to pilot ‘group appointments’ with practice nurses
Although the group consultations have been adopted by GPs, they have not yet been widely adopted by practice nurses, which would mean Greater Manchester would be leading the way.
Louise Brady, who leads on practice nurse development in Manchester, is co-ordinating the grant from Health Education England for the wider region.
Ms Brady, who is also a practice nurse at Donneybrook Medical Centre in Hyde, said: “Primary care nurses face enormous pressure to deliver high quality care and outcomes in diminishing time.
“The opportunity to explore a different and potentially more productive way to work is very exciting,” she said in an article on the new care model in the Journal of General Practice Nursing.
- Ms Brady is looking for expressions of interest from 50 practices to kick start the changes next year. Anyone interested in taking part should email firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of January 2017 with the subject “group consultations”.