Pioneering GP scheme for patients

Patients in Sheffield living with digestive disorders are set to benefit from the launch of a new specialist health service - one of the first of its kind in the UK.

People living with conditions including anaemia, abnormal liver function and jaundice will be able to get advice, treatment and tests from a team of specialists at the Sloan Medical Practice on Little London Road, instead of automatically being referred to hospital.

The community-based gastroenterology service is being launched by Central Sheffield GP Consortium - a group of 28 practices - supported by specialists from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals who will work together to improve services for 134,000 patients in the centre of the city.

As many as one in five GP consultations are about digestive disorders and, traditionally, people needing advice and investigations have been referred to specialists in hospital.

But with the new service patients will be able to access advice, certain tests, and some treatments in the GP surgery.

It will be launched next month and delivered by senior doctors from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and a team of GPs and nurses.

Dr Marion Sloan, partner at the Sloan Practice, said: "We are very pleased to be able to be one of the first places in the UK to offer the service in the community. We know the majority of patients prefer to be treated closer to home.

"The advantage of the service is patients will have better access to a rapid clinical assessment when they need it most and this will lead to better clinical outcomes.

"The advantage is patients can quickly be given reassurance if the symptoms are not really a worry. Or if further tests or a treatment plan are necessary, then we can quickly arrange them."

Mark Donnelly, clinical director and consultant gastroenterologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said the scheme was an "exciting partnership".

He said: "As well as benefiting patients the service will also offer hospital-based clinicians the opportunity to gain more of an understanding of the wider context of illness by seeing patients in the community."

As part of the service GPs from other practices in the consortium will be able to get advice by email and via the telephone from the specialist clinician.

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