Sheffield woman behind out-of-hours GP care in running for national award

Kate Carr is a partner at The Crookes Practice
Kate Carr is a partner at The Crookes Practice
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A Sheffield woman who was a driving force in extending access to the city's doctors is up for a national award.

Kate Carr, who manages The Crookes Practice, played a key role in ensuring patients could see a GP during evenings and at weekends.

Thanks in large part to her efforts, the practice is now one of four hubs across Sheffield which are open until 10pm each weekday evening and from 10am-6pm at weekends.

Not only has the pilot scheme, launched in October 2015, made it easier for patients to fit their appointments around work and other commitments, it has also taken some of the strain off busy A&E wards in the city.

The 61-year-old grandmother-of-two, from Beauchief, Sheffield, has reached the finals of this years's Towergate Care Awards, in the practice manager of the year category.

She was one of hundreds of people nominated for providing outstanding care across the country, and the winners are due to be announced by TV presenter and actress Denise Van Outen at a ceremony in central London next Thursday (March 23).

Kate, who has spent 40 years in healthcare, having worked in dentistry before becoming practice manager at the surgery in Crookes eight years ago, said she felt 'honoured' to reach the finals.

"Everyone in the NHS works very hard and it's so nice for somebody to take the time out to say they can see you're going above and beyond," she added.

"I think it's really important we don't stand still and we're always looking to improve. The NHS is changing so quickly and we have to look at better ways of working and always put our patients first."

Sheffield's extended hours GP hubs were set up using money from the £50m Challenge Fund, launched by then prime minister David Cameron in 2013.

They do not provide a walk-in service, but patients can be referred by their regular GP or via the NHS 111 helpline, including those who require urgent but not emergency care and might otherwise have gone to A&E.

Kate is no stranger to awards success, having last year been named practice manager of the year in the National Primary Care Awards.

As well as helping improve the availability of GPs, she was instrumental in setting up the Sheffield Cluster Research Group, a collection of around 10 doctors' surgeries which run trials with patients on conditions ranging from arthritis to heart disease.

Dr Tom Bailey, one of Kate's partners at the practice, who nominated her, said: "It is rare to work with someone with such drive, enthusiasm, stamina and resourcefulness. Her appetite for taking on new projects, fully committing herself and then delivering successfully is remarkable.

"She is driven to improve the service in a time of increasing demands and not only understands the current territory but actively seeks to look ahead, which is a most reassuring quality in any practice manager."