The Fleetwood Primary Care Network, the collective name for staff delivering healthcare services such as pharmacy, mental health and social prescribing, has added to its team and set up in a new unit at the town’s Health and Wellbeing Centre on Dock Street.
One of its goals is to reduce the pressure on GP clinics by offering consultations to patients whose health and wellbeing is being adversely affected by issues that aren’t so much medical problems but debilitating social issues.
A 2015 Commission in the UK estimated that about 20 per cent of patient consultations were for social problems rather than medical problems, but in many cases those issues impacted on their wellbeing.
This year the Fleetwood PCN has doubled its team of social prescribers to four and is shortly to bring in a new care coordinator, to add to its team of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
They are working closely with the town’s three GP practices – Mount View Practice, Fleetwood Surgery and Broadway Medical Centre – to reach patients in the community and those residing in the town’s eight care homes.
Fleetwood PCN manager Nathalie Skinner said: “The PCN is not new in Fleetwood but we are expanding and taking on a bigger role.
"Our social prescribers receive referrals from GPs about patients with non-medical issues that are affecting their mental health and impacting on their physical health.
"One of the roles of our pharmacy side reviews patients’ medication, making sure they are on the right ones and are using them correctly.
"By improving key aspects of patients’ lives, we can improve their wellbeing without them needing to always see a GP over issues that are not medical.”
The PCN team includes social prescribers Adam Diver, Wendy Wood, Wendy Taylor and Jordana Collinge, PCN pharmacist Laura Eccles, pharmaceutical technicians Louise Clayton, Sarah Gawne and apprentice pharmaceutical technician Robyn Johnstone.
Trainee Associate Psychological Practitioner (TAPP) Andrew Weatherill works closely with the social prescribing team, seeing patients one to one or in groups.
The social prescribers also hold drop-in sessions at Fleetwood Library on Mondays and Fleetwood Market on Thursdays from 10am until noon.