New lead GP for Copeland

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New lead GP for Copeland

Posted on Thursday 18th December 2014

Dr Juliet Rhodes is the new lead GP for NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group’s Copeland Locality.

Dr Rhodes has been a Cumbrian GP for almost 20 years and is a partner at Fellview Healthcare Ltd which has surgeries at Whitehaven, Cleator Moor, Egremont and Frizington.

As Copeland’s lead GP she is responsible for working with all nine local GP practices to ensure patients receive the best possible services.

A key project is the development of a ‘primary care community’ which means much closer working across all parts of the NHS and with other partners such as councils and the community and voluntary sector. This is an important part of the five year plan currently being developed for local health and care services.

Dr Rhodes said: “We really want to provide much better local services for our patients. A challenge for all of us is that we have more older people who have some very complex health conditions. We want to make sure that when they become poorly the right support is there for them locally so that they don’t have to go into hospital unless this is the best place for them.

“Often when GPs are called out to see older people they don’t need high tech health care but the right support to help them manage their illness and to stay independent in their own homes. By having a much more joined up approach across the NHS and with our other partners we will be able to do this.”

As part of this approach there are nine care coordinators who are based in GP practices and are working as part of primary care teams. They have seen around 700 patients since April to make sure that older local people get the support they need. More than £200,000 has now been made available to extend this scheme.

Dr Rhodes continued: “So far the care coordinators have visited about 700 patients aged over 75 but we are now extending the scheme to include people over 65. If a GP thinks a patient needs a little more support he or she can now ask if the patient would like to see a care coordinator. The care coordinator then visits the patient, does an assessment to understand their needs and this could vary from arranging for someone to walk the dog to access to district nursing services or benefits advice.”

Another new scheme, which is happening in partnership with Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, involves buying four beds in Powbeck, residential care home in Mirehouse. These can be used when frail older people become unwell and need a little more support than they could receive in their own homes so that they don’t have to go into hospital. They can also be used when a frail older people have been in hospital but need a little more support before they can go back to their own homes. 

Dr Rhodes added: “These are the kind of services that will help us to prevent crises with older people by being much more proactive about their care needs and hopefully prevent some from becoming so poorly that they need to go into hospital.”

Other plans are also in the pipeline and will be announced in the coming weeks and months.

In her earlier medical career Dr Rhodes worked in Nottinghamshire. On coming to Cumbria she worked for a few years as a GP in Cockermouth before becoming a GP in Copeland, where she has now been for 16 years.

At Fellview Healthcare over the past year has taken a lead in looking at ways of managing the rising demand for GP services. She has also played a key role in the development of a patient participation group which means that patients can have more say in how services are shaped and delivered at the practice.

Dr Rhodes lives in St Bees and has twin teenage daughters. Her husband works in the nuclear industry.


Posted on Thursday 18th December 2014


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