Somerset GP 999 support scheme

What is it?

This is about GPs working alongside frontline crews, providing primary care and urgent support for the ambulance service to benefit patients in Somerset.  The scheme runs two GP-staffed ‘999’ rapid response vehicles, acting as a mobile urgent and emergency treatment service to help manage patients at home. The service aims to complement the wide array of expertise and skills that frontline crews have, but providing easy access to an additional level of primary care advice and support.

The scheme has been very successful over recent winter pilots, and is now running throughout the year. The service is always keen to hear from GPs who may be interested in joining the scheme, as we continue to extend the locations and days that the service runs across Somerset.

What would I be doing?

As a GP, this is an opportunity to provide clinically-rewarding primary care support in a completely different environment and you’ll appreciate this is not standard out of hours working.

You’ll also:

  • have the opportunity to develop and widen your own skills, gain confidence around managing high acuity emergencies and make an immediate difference to patients.
  • have varied case load and work as part of a close team.
  • be focused on supporting admission avoidance and alternative care pathways.
  • be comfortable with appropriately managing a degree of risk.

Why are you doing it?

If you’re a local GP you’ll know Somerset is a very rural county of around 540,000 people across an area of 3,504km². Delivering urgent and emergency care in Somerset is complex and challenging because of the geography, demography, and rapidly changing patient expectation and need.

This scheme has already run for a number of years with good success. On average, the GP999 scheme manages to treat 80% of contacts entirely within the community, and streamlines the secondary care pathway for a large majority of the remaining patients. The scheme works closely with the local acute trusts and primary care.

The Somerset GP 999 support scheme benefits patients with additional skillset and medications, the availability of clinical telephone advice for ambulance crews; clinical review at the right time and direct hospital admission if needed under an appropriate speciality.

What about pay and indemnity?

GPs are generally bank contracted for this work, which is paid at competitive rates. The Trust indemnifies work undertaken as part of the GP999 Service.

What are the hours?

If you’re interested, we’d like to have a chat and could be flexible on shifts, but usually we’re looking at 1-2 (typically 10-hour) shifts over a four week period. The service currently provides over and around the weekends, although additional role out is in progress.

Do I need any training?

You’ll probably already have some out of hours or urgent/acute care experience, but some additional training will be provided.

Ok, I’d like to find out more

If you want to find out how your GP skills can be used more widely across Somerset we’d be really interested to hear from you. Please email Matt Booker for more information.