Improving access

Improving access

Why is this important?

Making sure people receive the right care, at the right time and in the right place is key to delivering the best possible results for people. This is particularly important in a large rural county like Lincolnshire where people often have to travel long distances with limited access to public transport, which can be frustrating for people and also means clinicians have less time for clinical activity.

Different parts of the population need access to different services at different stages of their lives, and there should be no ‘wrong door’ for anyone seeking healthcare support. For example, people who experience sudden illness or injury need quick and easy access to support. However, people living with long-term health conditions, including mental illness, need ongoing access to a range of support from teams of health professionals who can work together to ensure continuity of care and avoid that person reaching crisis.

In recent years there have been numerous attempts to make it easier for people to get the help they need, such as the introduction of NHS 111 online. However, these have often made accessing the right services more complicated because there are so many points at which the public can access NHS services.

We are taking these steps in line with the recommendations of the Fuller Report on integrating primary care in England.

What we’ll do to improve access:

  • 1. Develop services that align with the needs of the population

    Together we will:

    • Gain a better understanding of people’s needs and how they currently access services, using data and intelligence about people’s lifestyles and health needs.

    • Promote the new Primary Care Networks which have been developing since 2019. Primary
      Care Networks bring together GP practices and other community health providers to deliver health services in the community.

    • Focus on planned care rather than acute or emergency care, and reduce the time it takes for people to access planned care. Early intervention and prevention will reduce the chances of people going into crisis or developing more serious issues later on.

    • Reduce health inequalities across the county, particularly when it comes to how people access health services. One size doesn’t fit all, and some parts of our community need additional or different support.

    • Work with people to understand, design and develop services, including how best to access these around what works best for people receiving and providing care.

    • Improve access to all services, including planned, primary and mental health care, to reduce the demand on our emergency services.

    • Support and improve access to dental services and pharmacists in Lincolnshire.
  • 2. Develop teams with a range of skills and expertise

    Together we will:

    • Identify the professionals who can best meet the needs of the different population groups and support them to work together as a team, regardless of employing organisation.

    • Share health records across providers to improve standards of care and avoid unnecessary delays and repetition.

    • Make better use of technology to bring professionals together, such as virtual health clinics.

    • Provide additional support where it is most needed to avoid inequalities in care.
  • 3. Simplify the process for accessing health care

    Together we will:

    • Ensure people receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place. Understand and improve how people naturally access healthcare services and adapt the services to suit.

    • Automate the system to reduce the need for patients to rebook or request another referral for existing conditions.

    • Use digital technology for more than just virtual appointments – for instance, when booking or amending appointments or viewing your own patient records online.

    • Provide more over-the-phone and online appointments so that they are available if people want to use them, and communicate the benefits better to increase people’s confidence in virtual care.

    • Develop community and home-based services to reduce the need to travel long distances. Our community diagnostic centres are a good example of places we can offer more locally.
  • 4. Help people to understand the care they need and how to access it

    Together we will:

    • Recognise that people’s needs are different at different stages of their lives, for example, students at university, parents of young children, people with acute conditions, or people with chronic and long-term conditions that need monitoring.

    • Help the public to understand and have confidence in new ways of providing services. We recognise that how we communicate with the public is important, and we will use feedback to find better ways of guiding people to the right service.

    • Provide the right information and support to people in the right way at the right time.

    • Communicate better to let people know which services they should use and how to access them.


How will this benefit people and communities in Lincolnshire?

People will be able to access the care they need, when they need it and in the most appropriate setting, whether that be in the comfort of their own home or in the community, via telephone, online or in person. They will only have to share their story once and they will feel listened to. When someone needs specialist services, they will be treated in a timely way that ensures they get the best outcomes. People with complex needs (including mental illness) will have access to a range of professionals who will work together as one team, dedicated to achieving the best possible results for them. People will be properly supported to live fulfilled and independent lives, maximising their independence.

How will this benefit clinicians and professionals working in the NHS in Lincolnshire?

People will be able to see clinicians quickly, not because other services are not available but because the service the clinicians provide is the right one for them. Clinicians and other professionals will be part of a thriving and diverse workforce that will ensure that people can access care that puts them first. People will have clear, personalised care plans that can be accessed by all clinicians.

How will this benefit staff working in the NHS in Lincolnshire?

Staff will work in a safe, non-judgmental environment which values openness and honesty, and they will work together so people can access the right care at the right time. They will feel valued and well-trained, have opportunities to develop as professionals, and feel empowered to drive continuous improvement.