Fleetwood, Lancashire is an urban community suffering from high deprivation, where the life expectancy of its 26,000 residents is significantly lower than the national average.
GP practices in the area are working with their residents and other health, care and community services to transform the health and wellbeing of local people. They are changing the way they provide care from simply managing people’s illnesses towards helping people improve their lifestyles and preventing illnesses from developing.
The Healthier Fleetwood scheme is a partnership of residents, healthcare providers, charities and other groups, which is supporting local people to make life changes to support their long-term health and wellbeing. Based in the local Health and Wellbeing Centre, the scheme organises events such as free sports lessons, a Harmony and Health Singing Group, mental health support classes and drop-in sessions to engage residents with new programmes.
As GP, Dr Mark Spencer, says: “Helping residents becomes active players has transformed their relationship with us. The increased community confidence, events and wellbeing schemes would not have been possible without this scheme.”
GP practices are also working with other services, including community pharmacists to expand their team of health professionals across the area that can respond to the different needs of their patients. There are now over 100 clinicians, including GPs, nurses and mental health teams, working to support Fleetwood residents in a range of areas from mental health to drug abuse. Local schools are also involved in mental health access schemes; helping to provide support and build resilience amongst school children. Fleetwood is helping to support its local community to live well and focusing on school children can help to prevent the development of long-term conditions and ensure they live healthy lives.
Find out more about Primary Care Networks
Across the country, GP practices are working with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in Primary Care Networks. Covering areas of around 30,000 to 50,000 patients, bigger teams of staff including GPs, nurses, pharmacists and mental health professionals will provide more treatment closer to home and support patients to manage their own care. These networks will mean more appointments can be offered outside normal working hours and better digital services so patients can get more care and support online.
We have developed an animation giving an overview of what primary care networks are: