2010 has been an eventful year for St Georgeís Healthcare and indeed the NHS as a whole. The change in government has brought about big shifts in healthcare and our relationship with GPs will become more important than ever as we work together to provide the best possible care for patients.
Much of our activity in 2010 has been focused on driving significant improvements that benefit patient care across the whole patient journey, including: our integration with community services Wandsworth (CSW), our commitment to renewing our IT infrastructure, and our vision to become a thriving foundation trust (FT) in the heart of an integrated healthcare system.
As we look towards achieving FT status we have a real opportunity for St Georgeís Healthcare to build with GPs and commissioners on a mutual mission of improving local healthcare and reducing health inequalities. A recent public consultation on the trustís plans to become a FT indicated strong support and membership recruitment is underway with 3,500 recruited towards the trustís target of attaining 6,000 public members by May 2011.
In order to achieve our vision, we need to understand GPs needs and opinions. We would like you to let us know your feedback on what you think of our FT plans, and are happy to visit you in your practice to discuss this further. We have also developed a survey Foundation Trust at St Georgeís Healthcare in which I would encourage you to have your say.
We are proud of our achievements this year. This includes becoming one of four major trauma centres and one of eight hyper-acute stroke centres for London. We also continued with our programme of refurbishments across the trust, and this includes identifying a site for a modern stand-alone Breast Diagnostic Unit facility.
In March we launched the first phase of the Integrated Clinical Information Programme (iCLIP), a new IT system that will revolutionise the way we record, handle and share clinical information. This project has been an enormous undertaking, involving hundreds of staff across the trust and we would like to express our gratitude for your patience and understanding throughout this implementation period. Ultimately the system will bring many benefits, including the ability do away with paper records and create a database that can be used by healthcare professionals across the NHS. Clinicians will have access to more medical history than ever; enabling them to make more accurate diagnoses, administrative operations will be more efficient, leading to earlier appointments, and there will be improvements in discharge communications, all of which will contribute to a better patient experience.
A significant achievement this year is our integration with CSW. This is an exciting development that will enable us to provide improved care, resulting in many of our patients being looked after by the same clinical teams, whether they are in hospital or in the community. This means that patients will only have to come into hospital when absolutely necessary.
I hope that GPs will agree that this year we have worked hard to develop our relationship with GPs. This was initiated by the appointment of a Primary Care Liaison Manager, Dominic Dickinson, who I hope many of you have met. Dominic has been working to establish and build on existing relationships with GPs in Wandsworth, Sutton and Merton and Lambeth.
This year has seen us tackle a number of areas that GPs had identified as needing improvement.
A survey that was undertaken by Dominic in June provided us with a great insight into the issues that GPs have and I hope that we have managed to resolve some of these.
In addition, steering groups have been set up with GP input in order to tackle a number of issues in corporate outpatients, including call centre waiting time and clinic cancellations, both of which have seen significant improvement. The Choose and Book steering group has also worked hard to increase the number of clinics we have on the choose and book service and as a result has been formally recognised by NHS London as one of the most improved in the capital and for its low appointment slot issues (2% or less).
We have also made considerable efforts to improve the information that we provide to you about our services. In the spring we launched our new website, which includes a dedicated area of GP information and in the summer we launched the first edition of The Outpatient Services Directory and Referral Guide. Weíre hoping that this directory will become an annual publication, so please let Dominic know if you have any comments about the directory. You can view the directory here: www.stgeorges.nhs.uk/gpcontacts.asp
Finally, education is another area that we have developed over the last 12 months and as a result we have seen increased attendance at our (bi-weekly) Wednesday evening sessions, as well as in the day seminars. Development of our education service will be a point of focus going forward and so, in addition to the increased clinic support at community locations, we will also be providing regular educational forums at St Johnís (Battersea), Queen Maryís (Roehampton) and Gracefield Gardens (Streatham).
I hope that GPs are finding GP News a useful and interesting publication. We are keen to listen to your feedback and further develop all our communication with you to ensure that we continue to meet yours and your patientsí needs.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your continued support over the last year. Seasonís greetings and best wishes for the New Year.