Patients with mental health issues will receive a quicker service thanks to a pilot scheme directly linking GP surgeries with clinicians at South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust (SWLSTG).
The project, which officially launched last month, is the first time the system, called Kinesis GP, has been trialled for use in mental health cases in London.
GPs will be able to ask for advice on aspects of patient care, including referral, while the patient is still in the surgery and receive a reply within 24 hours.
Dr Mark Potter, SWLSTG Wandsworth Clinical Director and Clinical Lead for Kinesis GP, said: “I am very excited to be involved in this project which has already been successfully implemented in the acute sector and we will see how well it adapts for use in mental healthcare.
“Modern forms of communication provide real opportunities to improve the service we offer to patients and this system which helps hospital clinicians communicate quickly, easily and securely with GPs could bring real benefits.”
Once the hospital clinician receives a query, he or she is then able to assess the situation and offer the appropriate advice. Patients benefit because they are referred to the right service and receive the right care, treatment and support more quickly.
Tooting GP Dr Tom Coffey, who represents the NHS Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group which commissioned Kinesis, said: “GPs in Wandsworth value Kinesis. No GP wants to send a patient to hospital unnecessarily, no hospital consultant wants an unnecessary patient referral and no patient wants to attend hospital unnecessarily.
“Kinesis removes the roadblocks and makes the referral process smoother for GPs, consultants and most importantly, patients.”
The one-year pilot will end in April 2015 when its performance will be measured against the Trust’s Quality Account, which is an annual report to the public from providers of NHS healthcare about the quality of services they deliver
For more information visit www.swlstg-tr.nhs.uk