Health leaders at NHS Norfolk and Waveney are continuing to urge the public to have their say in the Norwich general practice services survey as the consultation period approaches the half-way point.
The nine-week consultation, which launched 24 January and runs through 26 March, presents three potential options for the public to have their say on how general practice services could be delivered in the greater Norwich area when the contract for the Norwich Walk-in Centre (WiC) expires in March 2024.
Also included within the consultation are the services provided at the GP practice at Rouen Road and the Vulnerable Adults Service – Inclusion Health Hub (VAS).
The consultation has already received a phenomenal response, with over 1800 surveys completed in the first 3 weeks. The options included within the consultation include:
- Option 1 – keep the VAS, GP practice, and WiC (no change)
- Option 2 – keep the VAS and GP practice, and close the WiC
- Option 3 – keep the VAS and GP practice. Use the same amount of money that is currently invested in services at the WiC and redesign it so that services could be offered in a different way across Norwich.
The consultation is taking place now to provide the public with the opportunity to consider the services that are currently provided and to think about what the best option for these services might look like in the future when the contract expires in 2024.
This consultation is not being undertaken as part of a financial or performance review of the WiC, but due to changes in the local and national landscape. These are outlined in more detail in the consultation document and include:
- The service specification for the WiC is based on policy that was introduced in 2009. How we access health services has changed since the WiC was originally contracted, including changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic
- There are other funded services available now that didn’t exist when the WiC was contracted, including the national Enhanced Access policy, which sees GP practices working together in Primary Care Networks to provide more flexibility of general practice appointments in the evenings and on Saturdays, and the GP Out of Hours service.
- The local population of the greater Norwich area has grown and changed, and there is a greater focus on reducing health inequalities in our communities to make sure that more people can access healthcare no matter who they are or where they live.
- The strategic direction from the NHS has also changed the way that NHS Norfolk and Waveney should commission services.
Against this backdrop, NHS leaders are using this consultation as an opportunity to consider the services that are on offer, and to consider options for alternative ways of using the same resources (money and workforce) that are currently invested in the WiC in a different way.
The feedback that is received from local people will be considered to help shape general practice services in a healthcare landscape that is very different now than when the WiC was initially contracted.
Sadie Parker, Director of Primary Care at NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said “We are really pleased with the strong responses that we’ve received to the consultation so far. This is a listening exercise for us to learn what is important to people about general practice services, and we are getting a rich amount of feedback not just on the options in the survey but also in hearing from people about their preferences for accessing care, barriers they’ve faced, and what’s important to them. This data will be essential in helping us plan and shape general practice services in future.
“The consultation is approaching the half-way point, and we continue to encourage everyone who hasn’t had a chance yet to complete the survey. We are listening very closely to what people are saying, and we will be reviewing all the feedback received when the consultation closes to determine the next steps.”
An Easy Read version of the survey, a summary document, and online translations of the consultation documents are available at https://improvinglivesnw.org.uk/have-your-say-consultation-on-general-practice-services-in-norwich/ .
Paper copies are also available for collection at the WIC and GP Practice at Rouen Road. Printed copies can be requested as well as alternative formats, including translations, large print, and Braille copies by contacting NHS Norfolk and Waveney by:
- Email email@example.com
- Telephone: 01603 595857
- Post: FAO Communications and Engagement Team, NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich, NR1 2DH