Be part of a practice that wants to make a difference at every level. We believe that the NHS should be accessible for all: free at the point of deliver and properly funded by government. We have between us 53 years of working in General Practice and in that time we have seen many challenges but feel that now we have to act to save the NHS we love for all patinet's. Being a GP is not just a job but is a vocation and a privilege. As a practice we are committed to offering a high standard of clinical care individually tailored to each patient's needs.
Although we welcome feedback and information from NHS England surveys. We do not think that they truly represent the full picture of what our practice is about and what we aim to achieve. There is also some evidence that surveys are less likely to be filled in by vulnerable patient's, frail elderly people, people with mental health problems [particularly dementia] and they do not include information from carers or other family members. We are trying to change things by working on many levels. We want patients to get involved, support us, share ideas and understand why we care so much.
There is currently a shortage of about 8000 GPs in England - Putting patients first. There are particular shortages in areas of deprivation and in rural areas such as Wooler. In an election promise Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced was going to increase GP numbers by 5000. He has failed to achieve this in fact a recent analysis showed that the number of GPs had actually dropped. Without GPs we believe the NHS would find it impossible to deal with the demands upon it and patients will be denied access to the medical care they need. This is work we are engaged in as a practice to increase the number of GPs available also ensure that they are supported and trained to high standards.
Encourage gifted young people from all backgrounds into medicine
The practice has been instrumental in setting up a system for young people who would not normally have access to healthcare settings to get work experience as a doctor to come to a GP Practice. It can be very difficult to attend a state school, or have working class background/live in a deprived area to know someone to ask to get work experience. This scheme was set up particularly to help these students. Students we have had so far have enjoyed the time with those and we have not completely put them off medicine as a career.
Encourage future doctors to take general practice
The country needs 50% of medical students to train in general practice just to provide enough GPs for the future. Our local medical school currently only manages to have 20% of its graduates expressing an interest in training in general practice. The reasons for this are very complicated but there is evidence that teaching medical students in general practice and giving them positive experience encourages them to do this as a career. We have been involved with discussions at Newcastle University about increasing the amount of general practice teaching in the curriculum. We are pleased to say that Newcastle University has developed a new curriculum. We already teach final year students who come and study with the practice for 3 weeks. We are very keen to be involved with mentoring medical students from the first year they arrive at University. We always receive great feedback from our medical students and are pleased many of them stay in touch and share their achievement with us.
Click here to read a prize-winning essay by one of our students.
Javier, another of our medical students, used a reference from his general practice as one of his 2 references which helped gain a place on the prestigious MPhil Bioscience and Enterprise course at Cambridge.
We are a training practice and take GP registrars. These are young doctors who have received a place on the general practice training scheme. Dr Lambourn has been a GP trainer since 1995.
Increase retention of current GPs
It is very important that GP's are well trained and keep up-to-date with their knowledge and skills. This can be difficult because of periods of illness, parental leave or even working in a different area of medicine. We feel it is important that the NHS does not lose motivated well trained GPs. Our practice successfully supported a GP in gaining a place on the new return to work scheme. This involves not just work experience but passing 2 exams.
Improving medical care for the future and giving our patient's opportunities
We are an active research practice and over the last few years have been involved in many national research projects. We try to pick the studies which are most relevant to our patients so our most recent projects have been in diabetes, heart disease, COPD and asthma. As a team we like to be involved in research as it keeps us up-to-date with the latest evidence, you feel that research is a good way of improving medical care of all people, our patients are very altruistic and are very enthusiastic at supporting us in delivering research studies. Our recent in-house research project was looking at whether voice dictation software improves the quality of the notes the GPs write. We believe that sharing information helps doctors and patients. We are part of a collaboration between the practices in North Northumberland that has won a research contract. This enables us to attract more research to our area because they know that there is a high standard of research work with interested, enthusiastic staff and patients.