• Devon Doctors participating in new initiative to improve public's experiences of primary healthcare

    THE organisation responsible for the provision of urgent out-of-hours [OOH] GP care in Devon has been chosen to participate in a new initiative to improve the public’s experiences of primary healthcare.
    Exeter-based Devon Doctors is one of six OOH providers from across the UK contributing to the study, which is being conducted by the University of Exeter Medical School and funded by the National Institute for Health Research [NIHR] Programme Grants for Applied Research [PGfAR]Programme.
    The objective of the study is to: “Identify how patient experiences can be used to support the development of primary care health services.”
    “Devon Doctors is committed to providing the best possible OOH care,” said the chief executive of the not-for-profit organisation, Chris Wright. “With this in mind, when we were approached by the University’s Medical School to assist with a study to support the development of services such as ours, we were only too delighted to offer our support.”
    Devon Doctors is asking 1,000 users of its out-of-hours GP service to assist it in the study. In the first instance, they will be invited to complete the General Practice Patient Survey [GPPS], which is routinely sent to millions of people across the UK every year and includes specific questions about experiences of OOH care.
    A number of those who responded have been invited to attend an in-depth interview about their recent contact with Devon Doctors in a bid to establish the relevance of the GPPS questions and their usefulness in shaping OOH services and improving patient care.
    At the same time, researchers from the University’s Medical School will be working with staff at Devon Doctors in order to attain a greater understanding of how they believe GPPS data could be used to refine and enhance healthcare services.
    Department of Health policymakers will utilise the results of the study to better inform decision making about OOH care service planning and delivery.
    Professor John Campbell, Professor of General Practice and Primary Care, University of Exeter Medical School said “Improving access to healthcare services is a priority for the NHS. Our previous research has identified that patients do not take the decision lightly when using urgent OOH GP services. We have been delighted to be involved in the development of the English GP patient survey, the results of which are used to help monitor and review the planning and delivery of out-of-hours care in the UK. 
    "We are seeking to gain a greater understanding of patient’s experience of care. We are pleased to have the support of Chris Wright and his team from Devon Doctors in delivering this research, and welcome the opportunity to hear back from Devon service users about their experiences of using the local health service.”

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