As 2020 approaches, what should the priorities of the GP surgery be?
Whilst the framework for a 50,000 people surgery within Dorset has been outlined, does this mean the demise of the family doctor?
The recent report from the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group and the Primary Care Commissioning Strategy and Plan, proposes the number of GP surgery sites could be more than halved from 131 different sites to between 36 to 60 surgeries.
Dorset currently has 97 GP practices serving 766,000 patients.
“The future is looking at a general hospital sized medical centre. What this means is that people from as far as Swanage to Blandford would have a huge distance to travel.”
“With Bournemouth recently recognised as the most congested town in the UK (according to the TomTom Traffic index), getting to a central surgery location can become more of a burden.”
“Surgeries have always been in close proximity to patients. As society changes, does this mean the family doctor becomes something from a bygone era and replaced by the specialist consultant.”
Chartered Architect, Philip Proctor, from Proctor Watts Cole and Rutter, highlighted the logistical side.
Lets also look at the building of the future catering for more patients. Philip noted, “A crammed building would become impersonal for staff, as well as patients. A scenario is created of low morale and poor conditions for healthy outcomes.”
With the 50,000 surgery becoming a potential real thing, what is an ideal size?
“A good structure is 10 to 12 GPs serving 20,000 patients” stated Philip. The size of the practice allows specialisation and sufficient demand to allow for the provision of good facilities and yet small enough for the staff to form a cohesive and caring team that can serve an area that is accessible.”
Whilst it is acknowledged that the General Practice will not look the same in the coming years, what has to be at the core is to serve a community within fit for purpose premises, where location and accessibility play a central role.
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