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Parents benefit from improved care in the community as Paediatricians run clinics in GP practices

08 October 2019

Health Care

Local parents are benefitting from more specialist care closer to home thanks to a unique partnership involving NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (SUHFT), Southend Borough Council and A Better Start Southend.

Local partners have worked together to develop an innovative Joint Paediatric Clinic that sees paediatricians working with GP colleagues to offer joint consultations closer to children's homes.

Before now if a child has a health condition that requires a paediatrician's attention, they are referred by a GP to the hospital. For parents and children alike, visits like these can be a stressful experience.  The new Joint Paediatric Clinics allow children to be seen locally within the community and treated closer to home by the most appropriate person for their needs in an environment they recognise and feel safe in. GPs can then continue to care for the child after the Paediatrician has made an assessment.  

Alongside the benefits for parents, the clinics will facilitate a more joined up approach improving collaboration and communication between healthcare professionals, as well as helping children receive an improved standard of care and better access to more specialist care where appropriate.

Dr Naina Emcy, Paediatric Consultant, Southend Hospital, said: "The aim is to provide easier appointments and local consultations with a more joined up care approach. This will improve the quality of services provided to local parents and it's a lot more relaxed than attending hospital as parents and children are more used to attending a GP practice setting. This also makes it easier to discuss any concerns and removes any additional stress for both the parents and child."

Dr Natverlal Shah, based at North Avenue Surgery, Southend said: "The Joint Paediatric Clinics are beneficial for GP education and collaborative working as well as the additional benefit of bringing high quality care closer to home for patients as well as a reduction in waiting time. When you have stressed parents you have stressed babies so these clinics will go a long way to alleviating some of those issues."

Cllr Anne Jones, cabinet member for children and learning, said: "This new way of working has been commissioned to give the child and their family the medical care they need in the familiar surroundings of their GP practice. It is a great example of how collaborative working between organisations can improve the experience for the child and their family, keeping them safe and well."

Stephanie Farr, Assistant Director at A Better Start Southend, said: "A Better Start Southend is delighted to be working with our Partners in progressing the innovative Joint Paediatric Clinics. Access to high quality, appropriate care in a convenient setting is something that will greatly benefit Southend's young children and families and we look forward to seeing how this exciting project develops."

The clinics, which started in Spring this year, will initially be focused in the East Central Locality of Southend, with funding from A Better Start Southend benefiting families in the Kursaal and Victoria wards in Southend.

Towards the end of this year, it is hoped that the Joint Paediatric Clinics will be rolled out in all areas across south east Essex and will be rolled out in Canvey from October.

An information video explaining the benefits of the service has also been produced and can be accessed via https://youtu.be/Hr-DK-KfTYw.