Patients suitable to be booked on appointments for the Choice + service are patients that:
- are registered with a Gloucestershire GP practice
- are able to safely wait unobserved in a waiting room in a location away from a hospital
- are not likely to need an admission or referral on to ED
- are not presenting with a mental health condition
- have not requested an appointment relating to the ongoing care of a previously diagnosed long term condition.
In June 2015 GDoc Ltd, with support from the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), secured significant funds from NHS England as part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund (PMCF) now known as the GP Access Fund (GPAF). One of the key aspects of the successful bid was to pilot a service to improve access to Primary Care, with extended opening hours on weekdays and weekends. This is now called the Choice+ service. The pilot has been a success and national funding has now been made available to continue this service in the future. GDoc will continue to provide this until March 2017 and then the CCG will decide, as part of a wider review of urgent care services, if they will continue to run the service in exactly the same way. The good news for patients is that there will be funding to continue to offer these convenient appointments in the future.
Choice+ covers the whole of Gloucestershire and supports 81 practices with a registered population of over 636,000 patients. Over the lifetime of the project, the original proposal was to provide around 2,000 urgent care appointments per week within primary care. These additional GP appointments improve the availability and convenience of primary care to Gloucestershire patients, as well as reducing the pressure on other urgent care providers.
Choice+ has been introduced gradually across Gloucestershire’s seven geographical localities. These localities range in size from four practices in Tewkesbury to 19 practices in Gloucester City. Within each locality Choice+ appointments are available at a number of locations, known as Hubs. Participating practices, known as referring practices, are able to book Choice+ appointments using the Out of Hours (OOH) Module of a clinical system called TPP SystmOne.
Choice + improves access for patients requiring urgent appointments. These patients are seen by Choice+ clinicians at a central Hub location, thereby freeing up time at the referring practice for patients with long term conditions or needing greater intervention.
Sharing you Data
Choice Plus uses a computer system called SystmOne. This system is now the most commonly used GP software system across the NHS. You can now choose to share your GP electronic record with other care services including Choice Plus who use SystmOne. If you do this it will mean that when you temporarily register at another Surgery then the clinicians will have access to all your records if you give them permission when you attend. This is an extremely useful tool to help with your care particularly if you have complex problems. Anybody who accesses tyour records can be audited.
When you are given an appointment for Choice Plus your GP Surgery may ask if you give permission to share your GP record.