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New community model “could considerably reduce patient waiting times,” says Hywel Dda GP

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New community model “could considerably reduce patient waiting times,” says Hywel Dda GP

Posted By Robert Lloyd

A Tumble GP has welcomed plans by Hywel Dda University Health Board to develop 10 new community hubs to support proposed changes to healthcare services in west Wales.

With less than two weeks to go before Hywel Dda’s Big NHS Change consultation closes, Dr Sioned Richards said the hubs would have the potential to considerably reduce waiting times for patients who have been referred by their GP for a hospital appointment.

Dr Richards said: “I feel the case for change is overwhelming. General Practice is creaking at the seams; we’re not managing demand, appointment times are ridiculously long for patients – we’re simply overwhelmed.

“In terms of waiting times for hospital appointments, we all know what they’re like. We get patients coming in day in, day out, waiting to be seen, for months and months.

“Community hubs will have the potential to really change that. By bringing services back into the communities so that patients get to be seen much quicker.”

Under Hywel Dda’s proposals the ten community hubs would provide a range of health and care services particularly for older, frail and vulnerable people. 

Although the care that patients could expect to receive would differ in each individual hub, it could include:

  • Care and support from a range of health and care professionals
  • Local access to tests and scans, including x-rays
  • Outpatients appointments and clinics
  • Care before and after your operations
  • Treatment for a minor injury or illness
  • Planned and preventative care for people living with long term conditions
  • Rehabilitation after a stay in hospital (step-down)
  • An overnight stay in a bed if you can’t be cared for at home but don’t need to go into hospital (step-up)
  • An assisted living bed where you can be supported to live in the community
  • Advice and support around your mental health
  • Access to advice and support on a range of health needs, including information on how to avoid getting ill in the first place, as well as how to get better if you to become ill

Hywel Dda’s Executive Medical Director and Director of Clinical Strategy, Dr Phil Kloer, added: “The whole community model will involve a multi-agency approach including more seamless working between health and social care, along with other agencies and the 3rd sector working together in each locality.

“The priority will be on improving and maintaining health and wellbeing of the population, giving children the best life chances, and promoting healthy ageing, therefore all agencies focused on prevention and early intervention. We know that people’s health and wellbeing is influenced by issues such as social connection and housing, which means that all agencies and people in the community need to be involved to make a positive difference.

“For patients with chronic conditions or who need end of life care, our workforce would be located around the community hubs where they would either be going out to visit people in their homes or people would be able to access the community hubs for a range of assessments, advice, support and treatments.  Our Community Mental health team will also play a key part. We are working on the detail with partners – it’s going to have to be a team effort. But those are the needs of the future population and we need to provide most of that locally because often the things that matter to people aren’t the sort that you need to go to hospital for.”

For more information visit www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/hddchange

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