October 2013

October 1st saw the launch of a GP helpline service to help doctors direct patients in towards other support services. Southend Association of Voluntary Services opened the private line today for GPs.

They can now call, with patients’ permission, to seek help from voluntary bodies. The service, is being run on a trail basis for a year and will be open between 9am and 4pm daily, though this may be changed later.

Dr Paul Husselbee, from Southend Clinical Commissioning Group, which oversees local GP practices, said: “Anything which can take the pressure off primary and acute services is welcome.”

A spokesman for the voluntary services association said: “We imagine patients and GPs will call this number. The hours are restricted to reduce costs but can be looked at again.

“We want this to work.”