Changing the conversation about health

Culm Valley Integrated Centre for Health

CoM Tags:

primary care, GP, NHS, College Surgery, College of Medicine, general practice, Devon

The Culm Valley Integrated Centre for Health is an attempt to push the boundaries of general practice in terms of patient involvement and encouraging self help, improved personal health and generating better community health. Its community health café, gardens, self diagnostic facilities and its extended virtual and group self help programme are all designed to help patients better care for themselves.The surgery’s patient group is involved in the planning and provision of facilities, which include the running of the Integrated Self Help Library and graduated “walk and talks” led by patients to improve fitness. All the main complementary therapies are offered at the private Natural Health Centre, housed in the practice, and GPs themselves are committed to holistic care offering a same day service for emergencies, while each patient has their own GP for ongoing personal care.

Shortlisted for our Innovations Award 2011.

Year established
Number of staff
Number of users
Is there a charge to users?
Users are only charged for the Natural Health Practice complementary therapies.
What makes your project sustainable?
Fundraising through Patient Groups and seeking Department of Health grants.
  • The main problem has always been financial sustainability. None of the “extras” at the Centre come from mainstream NHS funding but are financed through grants, social enterprise and local fundraising.
  • The Community Interest Café is an innovative means of creating social capital, education on food and cooking as well as providing a meeting place for different patient groups.
  • The surgery runs on a great deal of local goodwill – volunteers tend the gardens and the walks on open days. Retired professionals provide help with difficult family relationships.

The patient group is an attempt to push the boundaries in terms of patient centeredness and the ability of patients themselves to make decisions about the surgery and play an active part in how it is run.

How does it share the College’s ethos?
We share the ethos of the College as patient centered, encouraging self help and a wider approach to diagnosis and treatment based upon the views of the patients themselves.
People centred, whole person, preventative approach
The patient group is the mainstay of the practice in terms of planning and provision. Patients, for instance, help interview for new GP partners and run evening educational sessions and bimonthly health campaigns. Each GP partner is assessed annually by 50 patients on his/her list in terms of consultation skills, accessibility and personal care. The patient group newsletter is an important communication mechanism for patients and clinicians.
Evidence-informed practice/audit and evaluation
The practice is involved in a number of audits (e.g. currently for stroke care and Tai Chi for patients with Parkinson’s, depression or balancing disorders). Each partner is regularly assessed by peer professionals on issues such as clinical knowledge and technical care. Many of the projects are entirely new and we are currently planning for these to be researched by the new European Centre for Health and the Environment at Plymouth.
Multi-disciplinary collaboration, communication and professional practice
The surgery aims to span the whole range of care from compassion and personal care for the very sick through improving self care for the chronically ill to developing new ways of supporting patients to look after themselves, improve their own health and contribute towards improved community health. The surgery is stetting up patient groups (e.g. for migraine and back pain).
Contact details
Andrew Stennett – Strategic Manager
Culm Valley Integrated Centre for Health
Willand Road
EX15 1FE
t: 01884 831 300