THE South Cumbria Primary Care Collaborative has been awarded £250k by the Health Foundation to be part of its new programme exploring how to increase continuity of care in general practice.

The foundation, which is an independent charity, is committed to bringing better health and care for people in the UK.

The aim is to help patients see their preferred GP in order to improve care, reduce visits to hospitals and increase the relationship between patients and staff.

Dr Hugh Reeve, the project lead and a GP from Nutwood Medical Practice in Grange-over-Sands said the opportunity is fantastic.

He said: “The news is brilliant for our local communities.

"Over 160 organisations applied for the project funding and only five have been awarded, so it is a brilliant achievement.

"Both patients and GPs know the benefits of seeing the same doctor over repeated visits.

He added: "Research has shown that when this happens people have better health outcomes and receive more joined-up care.

“We believe this award will help us reverse the fragmentation of care that has been occurring in general practice over the past decade.”

Four local practices will work with external experts to explore in depth ways of increasing continuity of care during the first year.

All of the outcomes of the work with experts will then be used by the other practices in the Collaborative.

This will be used to improve services for their patients during the second year of the project.

Dr Geoff Jolliffe, Chair of NHS Morecambe Bay CCG, praised the work of Mr Reeve.

He said: "It is quite an achievement because I know over a hundred organisations applied for the project.

"It is a fantastic opportunity to get a strong level of care in general practice.

He added: "Hugh was worked hard on securing the programme to South Cumbria and I am really pleased the project had chosen the Collaborative."