Aneurin Bevan, was a hospital porter at Tredegar Hospital in Blaenau Gwent before becoming an MP and the Minister for Health and founder of the NHS. Although, the hospital no longer admits patients, the sense of looking after each other in strong communities still thrives in Gwent. GPs want to provide high quality primary care in an environment that supports them to do develop and grow as caring professionals. Aneurin Bevan University Health Board is one of the largest Health Boards in Wales and has 81 GP practices serving 600,000 patients.
This Health Board is at the forefront in Wales of developing health and community services based on ‘clusters’. These are networks GPs, Dentists, Optometrists and Community Pharmacists, together with Community staff such as District nurses, Health Visitors and palliative care, and Social Services, Third Sector agencies and Housing Associations. The Welsh Government is investing in these clusters or Neighbourhood Care Networks, to increase resources available to GPs and their patients to deliver care closer to home.
Examples of decisions made by NCNs to develop services locally include:
- Employment of 11 Practice Based Pharmacists to relieve GPs of duties so doctors can concentrate on dealing with patients only they can deal with. Local GPs have also been given payments to super their roles as Educational Supervisors to these pharmacists who are studying to become independent prescribers
- Creating Direct Access Physiotherapy services – to remove the need for patients to speak to a GP before accessing musculoskeletal care and advice
- Employing Dieticians in practices – to enhance local projects to deal with obesity and diabetes prevention
- Paying practices to chase up patients who had not responded to Bowel screening invitations
- Facilitating creation of effective Practice Manager forums, to develop the huge potential in our practice management population
Other new developments that The Health Board has supported to improve working lives for GP include:
- Recruitment of a new team of 6 Primary Care Diabetes Specialist Nurses, who initiate insulin and provide education and support to professionals and patients.
- Development of Group Sessions for Patient education on Osteoarthritis of the Knee. These interactive therapy lead workshops for patients activate patients to take control of their health and condition and provide GPs with an alternative route to OA knee surgery.
The Health Board has driven forward with an ambitious programme of new primary care buildings and surgery building improvements
There is also an active and popular local CPD programme for GPs and practice nurses, as well as innovative events in the region. E.g. A Gwent-wide workshop on Urgent Primary Care provided by the ‘Hot Topics’ company, Dermatology “Hands-On CPD” events run by local Dermatology Consultants and GPWSIs, and also an annual Pan-Gwent GP event lead by local specialists.
Opportunities exist for working as a GP or nurse in various roles:
- As partners in traditional Independent Contractor Partnerships
- As salaried GPs or nurses
- employed by these partnerships
- or employed by the health board to work in practices that are directly managed or indirectly supported by the health board
- As a GP or nurse working in Gwent GP Urgent (OOH) care
Many GPs choose to live in Gwent in one of many beautiful environments, rural and historical, close to excellent schools and transport systems.