Health improvement efforts in central Chorley shortlisted for national award

The collective efforts of Chorley GP practices to improve the health and wellbeing of local residents have been shortlisted for a prominent national award.

The Chorley Central Primary Care Network has been shortlisted for the Primary Care Network of the Year at the 2019 General Practice Awards the most prestigious awards for primary care professionals.

A ‘primary care network’ is the collective term used to describe a partnership between local GP practices and other health and care services across a local area. The GP practices involved in this network includes:

  • Chorley Surgery
  • Regent House Surgery
  • Library House Surgery
  • Granville House Medical Centre
  • Coppull Medical Centre; and
  • Euxton Medical Centre.

The development of these networks was outlined as a key national priority within the NHS Long Term Plan, published earlier this year, to help join-up health and social care, increase the ability for services to proactively support local peoples’ health and wellbeing; as well as improve the coordination of care too.

The Chorley Central network has been at the forefront of delivering these intended benefits for patients. Through the development of the Chorley Central network, local GP practices have been working with partners at Chorley Council, Lancashire County Council’s public health team and others, including the third and voluntary sector to improve local people’s health in new ways.

This has included examining data held by different services and organisations in new proactive ways so that people who may be at risk of their health and wellbeing deteriorating are able to be supported earlier. The network initially focused on patients aged between 45-60 who were identified as frail and visited their GP more than 10 times in the previous year. By working in partnership with other organisations and services, the GP practices found that these patients were also the same people who often needed an assisted bin collection by the council.

By working together and analysing the information held individually within services and organisations, the network was able to find people who had limited mobility, people with fewer social links and some who were isolated – all who needed more support. As a result the network was then able to connect these people with dedicated ‘link workers’ to undertake an assessment of their mental health, physical and social needs and then make personalised recommendations for that person. This could have meant putting them in touch with local groups to help with loneliness, organising a visit to the GP if medical needs were apparent, providing help with healthy eating or contacting the council team about an issue with their environment.

Dr Shashidhar Khandavalli, who has been a GP partner at The Chorley Surgery since 2008 and is now also Clinical Director for Chorley Central Primary Care Network said: “We are incredibly proud to have been shortlisted for this award. It is a great recognition of the really collaborative work we have undertaken to benefit our local residents.

“As individual professionals and services we absolutely recognise that we cannot work in isolation. If we are to really improve the health and wellbeing of local people then we need to work together and join up all of our efforts, so that we can proactively help people before they become ill or need support from other services. We are really lucky in this area to have the strong relationships which exist across some incredibly forward thinking services and organisations. The success of our work so far would not have been possible without all of their collective efforts.”

Other notable areas of work which the Chorley Central Network has undertaken include the roll-out of evening and weekend GP appointments for registered patients. This sees patients from any one of the local GP practices able to book an appointment with a GP or other healthcare professional between 6.30pm and 8pm on a weekday, from 8.30am until 4pm on Saturdays or between 9.30am and 4pm on Sundays.  

The winner of the award will be announced at the awards ceremony in Westminster on Friday 29 November 2019