A key element of Gloucestershire’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), published today, is what the NHS and social care call the ‘People and Place’ community model, and Stroud and Berkeley Vale has helped to lead the way.

Dr Andrew Sampson, GP at Price’s Mill Surgery in Stroud explained:

“This involves local communities working together in new ways to make the most of local resources and expertise to support and meet the needs of local people.

At the very core of these communities are GP practices. GP practices are working in partnership to provide a wider range of services to local people, and new roles, such as clinical pharmacists, are being introduced to support patients and practice teams.

We are also joining up health and social care teams and forming closer relationships with mental health services and the voluntary and community sector.

Working in a joined up way like this will allow us to provide more care in people’s own homes and in the community.

We need to be clear that this is not about closing any individual GP practices but working better together for the benefit of patients in the local area.

Another key strand of the STP is about encouraging people to take more responsibility for looking after themselves, helping them to avoid preventable illnesses and support other people in their communities.

Linked to this is social prescribing, a scheme which allows GPs to refer patients who require support, but do not necessarily have a medical need, to sources of community support or community activities within their local area.

Social prescribing has already had a really positive impact across Stroud and Berkeley Vale, supporting hundreds of patients with issues such as coping with caring responsibilities, social isolation and living healthier lives, and we really want to see this extended.”

Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, Paul Jennings said:

“Though the emerging ‘People and Place’ model, we are on course to make further positive strides in Gloucestershire to join up care and support in people’s homes and in the community. The STP describes how GP practices will work closely with health, social care and the voluntary and community sector to support local populations.”