‘We are so stuck in one-model system’

Dr Ed Diggines, chairman of Healthbridge Direct

Dr Ed Diggines, chairman of Healthbridge Direct - Credit: Archant

The chairman of a new federation of GPs working to improve access to doctors in Redbridge has said the health service “can’t carry on” as it is.

Dr Ed Diggines, chairman of the Healthbridge Direct federation which was set up six months ago, said doctors in the borough were working to bring more hospital services into the community to ease pressure on A&E.

He said: “There’s so much potential to work effectively together. It’s a very basic idea.”

The federation has already started offering urgent evening and weekend appointments from a hub based at Newbury Park Health Centre in Perrymans Farm Road. The hub provides same-day urgent appointments between 6.30pm and 10pm through the week and at weekends.

Patients can either be referred for an appointment by their own doctor or by calling 111 in the evening.

Dr Diggines, who is a partner at the Rydal Group Practice in Woodford Green High Road, said the federation now wanted to roll out hubs in Wanstead and Woodford, Seven Kings, Fairlop and Loxford in an effort

“We are so stuck in a one-model system,” he said. “We have a certain number of appointments every day. Once they are gone they are gone.

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“We spend a lot of time telling patients what they should and shouldn’t do.

“Patients just follow the path of least resistance – if they can be seen in A&E within four hours, it’s faster than a GP.”

Healthbridge is now working to get services such as Warfarin clinics brought out of hospitals and into surgeries.

“People don’t want to go to the hospital every two or three weeks – it’s overwhelming,” he said.

Visit healthbridge.org.