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  1. ITV Report

Could 'wellbeing hubs' be the answer to Plymouth's GP crisis?

With growing pressure on GP surgeries and hospitals across the region, health bosses in Plymouth believe they have found a way to help.

A new 'wellbeing hub' has opened in one of the city's most deprived neighbourhoods, designed to give people earlier access to the support they need.

The aims of wellbeing hubs are to improve mental health, reduce social isolation, reduce inequality, and enable people with long-term conditions to feel supported.

Ruth Harrell says opening a wellbeing centre in a GP surgery is 'fantastic'. Credit: ITV News

We heard from our GPs that a lot of the time they were spending with patients was talking about social issues. Things like finances, housing, problems that they were having in life. Those aren't things you can expect a GP to solve in a short consultation. So what we wanted to do was make sure all of those services are connected in with the GP and with patients.

– Ruth Harrell, Plymouth City Council director of public health
Cllr Kate Taylor says the city's GP shortage is very worrying. Credit: ITV News

Cllr Kate Taylor, Plymouth City Council cabinet member for health, said the hubs were aimed at reducing demand and pressure on Accident and Emergency wards.

She believes by giving people the services they need it will reduce the need to go to A&E, and in turn reduce wait times.

Accessing the services at a wellbeing hub reduces that demand, it means that people get help early on, and they're able to access support easily in their communities. It saves them going to the health service, it saves money and it saves people time.

– Cllr Kate Taylor, Plymouth City Council cabinet member for health

The centre has been set up by Plymouth City Council, NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and Colebrook South West.

It is the fifth wellbeing hub to open in the city and the first one in a GP practice.