Next month will see the launch of two more paediatric pilot schemes after an initial project in Woking has proved a big success.

The Children Together scheme is showing the benefits of system working for both patients and staff by bringing together GPs and hospital consultants to hold joint clinics in the local community. The long term aim is to reduce hospital-based paediatric outpatient activity, ease pressure on primary care, improve patient and staff experience and reduced costs to the system.

The monthly Children Together sessions alternate between four practices in Woking, with consultants from Ashford and St Peter’s hospitals joining their GP colleagues to run the sessions. Once the patients have all been seen, there is then a session for staff to run through the day’s cases, discuss the decisions taken and share learning.

All four practices can access the patient records remotely to avoid having to run through issues several times, and a dedicated joint email address for the hospital consultants means the GPs can seek expert help and advice at any time.

Dr Caroline Baker, GP and CEO of the North West Surrey GP Federation, helped set up the pilot scheme. She said: “The scheme is proving really popular for everyone involved. Patients find it more convenient, they get an appointment much quicker and they get the benefits of seeing two expert clinicians at once.

“For the GPs and wider primary care staff, it’s all about communication. They get to know their local consultant colleagues and improve their skills.”

Becky Dolphin recently took her son Elliot to one of the sessions at Pirbright Surgery. She said: “It’s been amazing to be able to see someone within a week and not have to travel too far.

“I can’t rate the service enough. We can stick to our daily routine and it doesn’t matter which GP you see, they all know about Elliot and his past history. Hospital parking can be a nightmare so being able to come somewhere local is brilliant.”

In March, two more pilots will be going live, one in Leatherhead and another in the West of Waverley area which includes Haslemere, Chiddingfold and Greyshott.

For more information please contact Emma Jackson, Project Manager, Women and Children’s Programme, Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership via Emma.jackson52@nhs.net