Health secretary hails 'innovative' Plaistow GP surgery

27/07/2022. London, United Kingdom. Health Secretary Steve Barclay meets Dr Farzana Hussain at The P

Health secretary Steve Barclay pays a visit to The Project Surgery - Credit: Lauren Hurley / Department of Health and Social Care

The health secretary has praised a Plaistow GP surgery for its "innovation" during a visit.

Steve Barclay MP met staff at The Project Surgery on Wednesday (July 27) and found out about ways the surgery has improved access for patients.

These include the introduction of self-serve blood pressure machines, meaning that patients do not need to make an appointment to have a test.

The surgery has also moved to a cloud-based telephony system, giving real-time data on their call demand.

Mr Barclay told the Recorder: "There's a lot of innovation and this is an opportunity to take that best practice and look at how we scale it out across other GPs both in London and further afield."

He also spoke with Dr Farzana Hussain, who runs the surgery and has been involved with it for almost 20 years.

She believes the "small" size of the practice, which serves around 5,000 people and has a team of 12 staff, allows it to make changes quickly.

27/07/2022. London, United Kingdom. Health Secretary Steve Barclay meets Dr Farzana Hussain at The P

Mr Barclay meets Dr Farzana Hussain - Credit: Lauren Hurley / Department of Health and Social Care

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Dr Hussain explained that the surgery sends around 15 patients a week to pharmacies for treating minor ailments such as a bee sting or ankle sprain.

She added that a move to offer online consulting has led to more men accessing their services, as they do not have to queue on the phone or go to the surgery in person.

Dr Hussain said: "Learning and sharing you can really do at scale. None of this costs anything extra."

Mr Barclay also paid tribute to her service in the NHS and she added: "I really enjoy it. The people of Newham are really grateful. The patients really keep me going."

27/07/2022. London, United Kingdom. Health Secretary Steve Barclay donates blood and meets with staf

Mr Barclay also donated blood and met staff at the Westfield Stratford City donor centre during his visit to Newham - Credit: Lauren Hurley / Department of Health and Social Care

The health secretary recognised that staff retention and recruitment within the NHS is "an important issue".

In April, the Recorder reported on results from the NHS Staff Survey 2021 which showed only a quarter of 7,941 Barts Health NHS Trust staff who responded said they were satisfied with pay.

The cost of living crisis has struck since then and Mr Barclay said: "In terms of the wider pay, it's why we've said that we'll accept the recommendations of the independent review body that obviously weighs up the challenges around what is affordable to the country given the wider economic pressures but also some of the pressures staff themselves face."

The move, announced earlier this month, will see NHS staff receive a minimum annual pay rise of £1,400.