A Flexible Service in the Community…
Many of the people who took part in the national consultation on Better Health, Better Care told us they wanted GP practice opening times to fit in with their daily lives.
That doesn't mean people want GP services to be open every hour of every day. But many people would like to be able to go to the GP in the early morning before work, in their lunch breaks, in the evenings after work or on weekend mornings.
We're working with GP organisations in Scotland and others to come to an agreement on opening hours that will better fit with people's lives. We're also looking to get agreement on:
- a guarantee of seeing a member of the GP team within 48 hours
- a system to allow patients to book ahead with the GP of their choice
- better use of telephone and, where appropriate, e-mail for consultations
- a drive to improve patients' experiences of GP services.
More generally, services in the community, often delivered jointly by the NHS and local authorities, aim to help all people to enjoy healthy, productive lives and increase their sense of well-being.
This means that patients living with long-term medical conditions and their carers should have the information and support they need to manage their condition on a day-to-day basis, in the knowledge that the NHS is there for them when they need it. We're working with the Long Term Conditions Alliance Scotland to develop practical ways of helping individuals and their families to achieve this.
By April 2009, working in partnership with the voluntary sector, we'll introduce a national Health Information and Support Service to make sure that patients and carers can get clear, accurate and up-to-date information when they need it.
Many people need rehabilitation after illness, injury or time in hospital. We support the model of rehabilitation set out in the Delivery Framework for Adult Rehabilitation and see it as a powerful tool for helping people to get back to their normal lives and jobs.
The development of walk-in services provided by Community Pharmacies paves the way for patients to get easy access to valuable advice, support and treatment on a range of health issues. We've begun work in five NHS board areas to test how an even wider range of services from community pharmacies could benefit patients and communities.
And we're determined to ensure that older people get the services and support they need to live as independently as they can, whether they are living at home, with carers or in a care home. We will continue the policy of free personal and nursing care for older people, raising levels of payment and boosting standards of care through effective monitoring and regulation.