• Huge strides made at Exeter surgery which caters for the homeless

    One of Devon Doctors’ newest ‘projects’ continues to go from strength to strength.

    We assumed responsibility for Exeter’s Clock Tower Surgery in the autumn of 2012 and the outstanding and on-going progress that has been made since is evidenced in the latest KPI quarterly performance report.

    The Clock Tower was established in March 2000 in response to the national and local health care agenda to provide equitable access for all.

    As a prominent cathedral and university city, located centrally in the South West peninsula, Exeter had long been a focal point for the homeless population and this was borne out by numerous ‘rough sleeper counts’, conducted by the city council.

    However, existing provision to meet the complex health care needs of the city’s homeless was scant and, where it did exist, based on the goodwill of a few individual practitioners rather than any kind of contractual agreement.

    At the time, PMS [Pilot Medical Services] was seen as a unique opportunity to deliver health services in a new and innovative way – enabling services to be based on the individual needs of specific groups of patients to reduce health inequalities.

    Hence, with a very short turnaround time from governmental bid to becoming a fully functional and dedicated health service to the homeless, in March 2000 the Clock Tower opened its doors and, with copious volumes of enthusiasm, set about realising a vision that had been based on a few ideals and notional figures.

    As the KPIs indicate, under Devon Doctors, the surgery has gone from strength to strength. It has refined its processes and has a more structured approach to moving those patients whose health and housing status allow it on to a mainstream practice. At the same time, the restructured appointment system is working well and the patients seems to have accepted that the change is a positive alternative.

    The staffing structure has also improved. The Clock Tower now has two permanent part-time salaried GPs on board, sharing the working week between them. The structure offers patients continuity of care and consistency and the staff a more solid team structure to work within.

    The consultation rates for the clinical team in the latest KPI report update are an accurate reflection of the work undertaken. A steady increase in all areas is clearly discernible.

    Looking to the future, all staff are keen and motivated to sustain and support the improvements that are now in place. This will involve working closely with partner agencies, where appropriate, to deliver tangible benefits for the Clock Tower’s patients.


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    Devon Doctors Ltd and its subsidiaries Access Health and Access Dental are social enterprises. We exist to benefit the communities we serve. We’re run by healthcare professionals, owned by GP practices, and don’t have any stakeholders. Any profits we might make are used to improve our services.

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