On 1 July 2020, DMC Healthcare welcomed Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood and shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, to DMC Crystal Palace Road surgery. The virtual meeting was structured to include an overview of their innovative approach to mental health and technology, a guided tour and meetings with the multi-disciplinary team (MDT).
Helen Hayes MP commented “I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to meet the DMC team and understand how they are supporting patients and staff despite the Covid restrictions. I was particularly interested to see the priority being placed on primary care mental health services, which is an area I prioritise in Parliament. I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with Alice and to hear of her experience as a patient of DMC and the support the practice has provided and I am grateful to her for sharing her story.”
DMC Healthcare opened its first GP practice in 1967 in Dulwich and in 1994, the Health Secretary at the time opened the new state of the art building for Dulwich Medical Centre on Crystal Palace Road. Today it is a thriving, modern building supporting over 9,000 patients in the Dulwich area.
Nadeem Moghal, CEO, DMC Healthcare added “It was excellent to hear Ms Hayes say that it is those providers that have deep roots in the community that deliver better for patients, which chimes very well with our values and of course DMC Healthcare is deeply embedded in the community, founded in Southwark in 1967.”
“The visit revealed a very real sense of team working along with a strong passion for the work we do despite the challenges. The powerful impact the team has on patient lives doesn’t always come through in discussions with commissioners and regulators which are very much numbers-driven, so it was great to highlight the positive, life changing stories in amongst all the challenges.”
DMC made the decision 7 years ago to invest in community psychiatric nursing despite there being no central funding for a primary care model of this kind.
Kate Murphy-Morris, lead Mental Health Nurse explained how the multi-disciplinary approach at DMC has proved transformational. “DMC was the first practice to invest in a mental health nurse, 7 years ago, embedding mental health care within primary care. Access to mental health care is immediate, appointments are bookable on the day, with no lengthy referral routes which is revolutionary and covers services for children, adults and older people with any mental health concern. We promote psychological and self management strategies as well as medication following the evidence-base.”
“With Covid we have seen a big increase in anxiety and depression due to people being very socially isolated. So we have been proactively reaching out to people to offer support. We also help people with serious mental illnesses look after their physical health which is important, given their greater physical health morbidity. We do lots of important mental health promotion in the surgery. I see this as an essential role in primary care, yet it is very rare.”
Patient Alice Luetchford described the support she has received from DMC and how she has lived with depression and anxiety for 15 years “I’ve never been as mentally well as I have since I’ve worked with the mental health nurse. She was there and supportive when other services aren’t, and the practical, day-to-day strategies and techniques suggested by her are crucial for returning to and maintaining positive mental health. Encouraged by Kate, I have used painting as a self-care strategy for my mental health and am currently exhibiting paintings as a thank you which is displayed in the DMC surgeries to help brighten up your day.”
Watch a video interview with Alice Luetchford at our Chadwick Road practice here
To find out more about Alice’s artwork please visit: https://www.aliceluetchfordartist.com/
To follow @AliceLuetchford via Twitter
The practice team discussed how they have coped during Covid, with an enduring focus on patient safety and supporting each other:
- Dr Gertrud Buerstedde, GP lead, who has worked in the NHS for 30 years, described how DMC’s innovative approach to digital health has provided an essential foundation for supporting patients during lockdown. “Covid has meant that services had to change overnight. Face to face contact with patients has been replaced where possible with digital healthcare, telephone and video consultations, home working, electronic prescribing and home monitoring.”
- Meenakshi Battu, Practice Manager, is keen to ensure all colleagues are well equipped and supported during Covid. “Changes have been so frequent due to revised NHS guidance and we quickly developed a hot and cold hub site ensuring the safety of staff and patients in vulnerable groups. With the help of our efficient team, we provide proactive care to our high risk patients.”
- Cecilia Thompson, Health Care Assistant, 11 years at DMC added “Making sure patients are fully supported is my key aim. My role includes ensuring we have adequate PPE at this challenging time, calling patients to make sure they are supported at home with shopping and medication, and if they just want someone to talk to, we can refer patients to a befriending service.”
- Marjorie Simpson, Practice Nurse, has worked as a nurse in the NHS for over 50 years and joined DMC in 1999. “It was mind blowing to see how DMC immediately put Covid support systems in place, making sure no patient was left out, for example through our pharmacist. Patients also are very grateful to still be able to get their child immunised or get their dressings done, which in turn releases pressure on hospitals.”
DMC Healthcare is a leading provider of primary care, radiology reporting, consultant-led dermatology services, endoscopy and community services to the NHS. We run GP surgeries in 13 GP practice buildings across West Kent, Southwark, Maidstone, Medway. DMC Healthcare is firmly rooted in the NHS, having been the partner of choice for 50 years and currently work with 30+ NHS organisations and other partners, treating over 100,000 patients each year across 19 CCGs.Leave a reply