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Opening Doors Pilot (8-8 Service)

Opening Doors Pilot – Morecambe and Lancaster  NHS

Five GP practices across Morecambe and Lancaster have been working together to develop a new scheme which sought to address two major issues facing the local area:

1) Lack of access to primary care at weekends

2) Reducing the pressure on accident and emergency departments

These issues exist nationally and to try and address them an initiative was launched called the Prime Ministers Challenge Fund (PMCF) to try and find solutions to the problems.

A budget of £50million was set aside to support the PMCF; however access to the funds was subject to a robust bidding process.

Over 250 bids were submitted and considered, of which the Opening Doors scheme was one of them. The bids had to demonstrate the potential positive benefit for patients and how the pilot could be financed in future years.

After a lengthy review process the decision was made to financially support 20 pilots including the Opening Doors scheme. This was supported by the release of £1.1million to deliver the pilot.

To congratulate the successful pilots the Prime Minister invited our clinical lead for the project, Dr Mark Grealy down to Downing Street to discuss the proposals and how it would benefit patients.

From June onwards an external project manager was appointed to support the five GP practices (Meadowside, Coastal, Westgate, York Bridge and Strawberry Gardens) deliver the pilot.

There are a number of key deliverables within the pilot:

1)  Access to a GP 8am – 8pm, 7 days per week.

2)  Ability to book GP appointments at weekends

3)  Introduction of IT solutions to support patients with a chronic disease

4)  Support to deliver advanced care plans

5)  Extended Same Day Service and X-ray services.

When the project commenced in June very challenging targets were set to deliver the first two elements of the project. However with the hard work and commitment shown from all involved we went live on the 4th August.

We would not have be able to do this without the support from the receptionists and GP’s across all five GP practices who continue to deliver the 8-8 service.

The work to date mobilising the project is only the first step; we need to show that by having the pilot in place we ensure that patients access the most appropriate service.

This should result in a reduction in accident and emergency admissions and also the use of the Out of Hours service and unnecessary ambulance calls. By doing this the pilot will hopefully generate savings in other areas which could be used to finance the pilot scheme once the PMCF monies have run out.

To ensure the success of the pilot we need to continue to promote our pilot message which is:


Appropriate care at the appropriate time at the appropriate place


Further advice on the pilot scheme is detailed within the two links:

8-8 Presentation to Patient User Group 20th August 2014

8-8 Promotional Flyer detailing Contact Details










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