We have some fantastic community services in Liverpool, but at the moment they can be quite disjointed and we think people would benefit if services worked more closely together.
When I talk about community services, I mean GP practices, walk in centres, district nurses and other services you receive outside of hospital.
To help bring these services together, we will be developing Community Care Teams. These teams will include GPs, nurses, social workers, mental health teams, pharmacists and other care professionals who will work together to make sure the right care is available when and where you need it.
Delivering services in this way will help vulnerable people and those with complex needs. It means we can better identify who needs support and help them get the right care.
We think this approach will support people to stay well for longer; so far it’s gone really well when we’ve tested it in some parts of the city.
Linked to this, we know there are a lot of activities already going on in the community which have a really positive impact on people’s health, and we want to do more to work with these groups and promote healthy living as widely as possible.
When we spoke to people last summer about Healthy Liverpool, one of the clear messages coming back was that people sometimes struggle to get a GP appointment, or the appointment system doesn’t work for them.
We are planning to extend opening hours seven days a week at some GP practices across Liverpool and make these extended appointment times available to everyone, not just patients registered at that practice.
A lot of people in Liverpool are living with long-term health conditions, like diabetes, different types of cancers and lung problems. Many of these patients have to make regular trips to hospital to see the doctor or nurse who helps manage their condition, but we think a lot of this work can be done outside of hospital and in community settings closer to home.
We also want to put more things in place, like information and education, to support people to manage their long-term conditions better. There is evidence that this extra support leads to an improved quality of life and fewer emergency trips to hospital.
There are groups of people in the city who we know are more likely to become unwell. For example, we know that the homeless and people with alcohol problems are more likely to need our help. We want to explore different ways of working with these groups to support and care for them better.
We want to create community services that meet the needs of Liverpool, and to do that we need to hear from you.
We’ve created two online surveys where you can share your views, and we are holding a number of public events in February and March. Details of all of these are available at www.healthyliverpool.nhs.uk.
By Dr Janet Bliss, GP and Clinical Director of Community Services.
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