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Super docs cut hospital waiting times

PUBLISHED: 20:04 26 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 March 2010

'GYPSY' doctors are helping to slash hospital waiting times for people living in part of Suffolk.

They are General Practitioners with Special Interests or GPSI's - who have undergone additional training and gained qualifications to see patients usually referred to specialists at a hospital.

'GYPSY' doctors are helping to slash hospital waiting times for people living in part of Suffolk.

They are General Practitioners with Special Interests or GPSI's – who have undergone additional training and gained qualifications to see patients usually referred to specialists at a hospital.

Dr Fayez Ayache of the Constable Country Practice in East Bergholt, who also works as a family doctor, has been providing clinics in the ear, nose and throat speciality twice a week.

On Tuesdays from 6.30-8.30pm and Wednesdays from 1-3pm he sees ENT patients in his surgery at East Bergholt as part of a scheme co-ordinated by Central Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT). The aim is to reduce waiting lists for patients in central Suffolk.

"Some patients currently have to wait months for a first outpatient appointment with an ENT specialist at a hospital, but this initiative means this wait will fall significantly," said Dr Rob Hall, commissioning manager for Central Suffolk PCT.

"Patients will no longer have the inconvenience of travelling outside the district for expert help and the PCT plans to introduce more GP-led clinics in the future to increase patient choice and reduce waiting times further."

Dr Jeremy Halfhide, a colleague of Dr Ayache at the Constable Country Practice, will provide dermatology clinics each week, starting in June and increasing in frequency after August.

People who have particularly complex needs will still go to an acute hospital to see a specialist.

"By offering ENT and dermatology services at primary care level, patients are seen more quickly and in a more convenient location," said Dr Ayache. "The new clinics have given me an opportunity to provide more specialist care than during my routine surgeries, and I am pleased that I now see 34 per cent of all ENT referrals in the PCT catchment area."

Central Suffolk PCT, which was formed in April 2002, is responsible for looking after the healthcare needs of the people of central Suffolk registered with the 12 GP practices in the PCT area.

Harper Brown, its chief executive, said that the GPSI initiative was part of the PCT's drive to develop more local services in central Suffolk.

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