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Demonstrating the power of place

The main element of our PCN’s response to the covid-19 pandemic is how we’ve demonstrated the power of place to rapidly adapt, whilst still reliably delivering care to our communities from their usual teams in the seven practices that make up SHaR PCN.

Continuity of care with long developed knowledge of our patients, their families and carers has been more important than ever. We’ve had to adjust our ways of working and access, not only to continue to meet our patients Covid-19 and non Covid-19 health needs, but also protect them from new potential risks, such as later diagnosis and other health and social care services being disrupted for prolonged periods.

We have very quickly and smoothly vaccinated our patients against seasonal flu, achieving coverage of over 80% of our 65s early in the autumn. There was great patient feedback & staff enjoyed meeting up with our patients again (albeit very quickly in a walk or drive through!).

We’re now gearing up to administer the Covid-19 vaccination within the PCN area, which is really important given the high proportion of vulnerable adults living in alone and in rural isolation.  We’ve also continued to expand our PCN workforce, with more clinical pharmacists to support safe prescribing, a new first contact physiotherapy service based in each surgery and a Social Prescribing Link Worker (SPLW) with a mental health focus.

Our existing Care Coordinator, SPLW & Parkinson’s nurse have really come into their own, using their strong knowledge and working relationships with our community partners to ensure our patients actually now have a wider suite of options available to them, such as Health Navigator and network of volunteer support.

We’ve been cementing our working relationships with our community services teams, specifically the District Nurses and Therapists. This is really important for our long term aim of removing the historic threshold between general practice and community practitioners.

So, in conclusion, for our PCN, the pandemic has spurred us on to realise our vision for our communities, by being creative and working jointly with our system partners. More to come!

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Dr Paula Evans

I graduated from the University of Nottingham in 1989. After working in paediatrics and undertaking GP training in London's East End, I settled into a central York practice in 1997 for 20 years. To complete a broad General Practice experience, I joined Millfield Surgery in January 2018. As well as the clinical interests of Long Acting Reversible Contraception, kidney health & minor surgery. I am also Clinical Director of South Hambleton and Ryedale Primary Care Network.

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