A Portsmouth NHS healthcare centre which celebrates its fifth anniversary today (1 August) has been nominated for the 2014 General Practice Awards for best GP practice.
Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre houses a GP practice with 5,600 registered patients and a walk-in centre which is accessed by more than 20,000 patients a year, registered or not. Since opening, it’s built an excellent reputation for looking after the needs of the city’s homeless people, including ex-military personnel.
The centre, which is open every day of the year from 8am-8pm, is run on behalf of the local NHS by Portsmouth Health Ltd – a joint venture between independent sector health and social care provider Care UK, a group of Hampshire GPs and Ashley House plc.
Kim Dennis, service manager at Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre, said: “We are thrilled to be nominated for a top national award. Last year, we beat off competition from across the country to win the Care UK Clinical Excellence Award and were again nominated in the General Practice Awards. We’d love to go one step better this year and scoop the award in November.
“The centre looks after the health of the homeless population in the city. This population is transient and currently we have 94 patients registered using our address as their address. This enables the patients to access secondary care. In the past the only access the homeless population had to secondary care was via A&E admissions.
“Some of the homeless will not register with a GP but use the healthcare centre to treat their minor health needs. This is a unique service and meets the health needs of this very vulnerable population, which include ex-military personal, prison release patients, mental health patients released from large hospital environments and those suffering from alcohol and drug addiction.
“If a patient requires referral to secondary care the appointment letter is sent to us addressed to the patient and we inform the patient to collect the letter. It works very well. We have attended Veterans Outreach Support and use this valuable service to refer the ex-forces patients too.
“The centre also looks after a nursing home in the city where patients have dementia. The centre decided to deliver a unique service and employ a nurse practitioner who is able to prescribe medication. She visits daily and a GP joins her each Wednesday. This allows the clinicians to see residents when they are well and provide excellent care and treat them as we treat all other patients. This has proved an excellent template for care and avoided many unnecessary admissions to hospital.”
At weekends and bank holidays Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre hosts the District Nursing Team to allow all patients in the city to have their dressings changed without the need to wait in for a district nurse to visit. Kim added: “Clearly this is of huge benefit for the nursing team and if they are unsure of a wound they are able to ask a GP for advice or a prescription for antibiotics.
The centre also actively promotes safe sexual health and provides free condoms to all. It is the second highest screener of Chlamydia in the city.