Press release

New “Practice Plus” GP site strengthens primary care in Brighton & Hove

A city centre GP practice is encouraging new patient registrations following the opening of a second branch in Boots, North Street and the launch of a new online hub for patients, offering a quick and easy way to register online.

The Brighton Station Health Centre, an NHS service run by Care UK, has expanded and been renamed as Practice Plus Brighton.  The new site is on the first floor of Boots on North Street and will work alongside the existing surgery at Queens Road, Brighton Station, which also continues to house the well-known NHS Walk-in Centre.

Anyone from Brighton & Hove registering with Practice Plus  will benefit from a comprehensive range of new, improved GP services including  face to face or telephone appointments available within 48 hours as standard, and longer opening times (8am to 8pm) as well as weekend access in both Queen’s Road and North Street surgeries. The new North Street branch opened its doors in July for a three-month “soft-launch” period prior to formal opening, during which time it took on more than 1,000 new patients, proving the value of additional primary care capacity to meet the needs of those that are not registered for GP services in the city.

Dr Marjorie Gillespie, Primary Care Medical Director for Care UK, said: “We’ve looked very hard at what patients want from their GP practice and at what the NHS locally wants us to deliver, as well as at how to make improvements to our existing practice.  Brighton and Hove has seen around ten GP practices close or announce planned closures since the beginning of 2015 so we are very aware of difficulties facing NHS primary care in this area.  We believe strong, sustainable NHS GP services are fundamental to keeping patients well.  We are pleased to be contributing by opening new premises, new services and additional clinicians to work in our Practice Plus locations in line with the priorities identified by NHS Commissioners.

“Introducing longer hours and more flexible ways to see or speak to an NHS GP is particularly important for full-time workers and other patients currently struggling to get quick, convenient appointments.

“Our core focus is to recruit patients who are not currently registered with a Brighton and Hove GP, whether students, older people with complex or chronic conditions, seasonal or temporary workers or simply those who have moved but not yet found a new NHS GP.

“We know that patients are best assessed and treated by a responsive GP service.  If they can’t get to see or speak to a GP, people often choose to go to local hospitals’ Emergency Department (“A&E”), even for non-urgent treatment which is frustrating for patients and costly for the NHS.  Around 30% of patients going to “A&E” are discharged without needing treatment, so easier access to GP services can make a real difference to NHS resources.

“Anyone who needs to register with an NHS GP in the Brighton & Hove area is welcome at Practice Plus, irrespective of age or medical condition.  We very much hope that the investments we’ve been able to make to improve our services, with faster appointments, new technology-supported access options and longer opening times, will make a useful contribution to the continuing development of efficient and effective primary care services for the city.”

Patients who register with Practice Plus as their NHS GP will be able to use an innovative online Personal Health Hub, where patients can create a detailed online profile, book face to face or telephone appointments, order repeat prescriptions and check their symptoms in advance of a GP consultation.  The new Personal Health Hub and website, along with  telephone support between 8am-8pm every day, will transform GP access and, with almost all calls answered within 30 seconds, help put an end to the misery of the 8am telephone queues for patients seeking a rapid appointment.

Practice Plus’ focus is on attracting new patients who are not already registered with GPs in the city, a population it believes to be in the thousands, particularly among the high student population and those people moving into, and within, the city.  By expanding GP capacity, both for telephone and face to face appointments, the new Practice Plus services will enable anyone not registered with a GP practice – who lives in the area – easy access to a GP when it suits them, on the phone, online and in central Brighton.

Although the new online Personal Health Hub will be patients’ primary point of contact for appointments, the Practice Plus clinical call centre will pick up almost all telephone calls within 30 seconds so patients can call whenever it is most convenient to arrange appointments and order repeat prescriptions.

The hub also means that patients can check their symptoms online prior to an appointment with a rapid recommendation on whether the next step requires a visit to a pharmacy, a telephone consultation or a face to face appointment with one of the GPs or Practice Nurses or some other course of treatment, including comprehensive NHS advice on how to treat symptoms at home straightaway, without the need for a further appointment.

To register as a Practice Plus patient, visit www.practiceplus.co.uk or call 0300 130 3333 (standard national call rates apply).