Leicester Partnership brings patient control to a new generation of doctors and nurses

Patients Know Best has embarked on a revolutionary new project with Leicester Medical School and Lakeside Healthcare Corby – a Northamptonshire-based GP practice known for its innovation – to bring patient-controlled learning to a new generation of medical and nursing students.

Patients Know Best has been an integral part of Leicester Medical School’s curriculum since 2014 when students started using the platform as a standard part of their training to equip students with the skillset and experience to conduct virtual consultations and manage patients remotely.

Now, the medical school has teamed up with one of the area’s largest GP practices to spread that training out into the community – in real world care settings.

This year, Leicester medical students and nursing students from De Montfort University placed at Lakeside will be working with patients using PKB in order to co-produce care plans with patients.

Dr Andrew Ward is a GP partner at Lakeside and a senior clinical educator at Leicester Medical School. He initially started using PKB to help boost the communication skills of student doctors. But now, he sees that the project has a far wider remit – to prepare students for a future that’s patient-controlled. Dr Ward explains:

“Ultimately, this project is about changing mindsets from an early age. Traditionally, doctors are taught that they should know everything and have all the answers – that places a huge burden on them and a strain on the NHS. Teaching students how to collaborate with patients in a patient-controlled environment through PKB is about sharing that responsibility. We believe this is a small but very powerful step in the right direction.”

Currently, patients taking part in the project are being recruited from a pool of Lakeside patients who have experienced an unplanned admissions. These are often the most vulnerable patients, living with long term conditions and dealing with complex medical and social problems.

It’s clear that anything that Lakeside Healthcare can do to minimize the number of times these patients attend clinic or A&E is not only good for the patient – but good for NHS purse strings.

Monitored by an experienced clinician, the students are able to contact the patient using PKB and co-develop care plans with them.

The project also encourages inter-professional education too as it involves medical professionals from different professions working together and collaborating around a patient’s needs. Dr Ward continues:

“The trainee nurses and doctors go out and see the patient in their home and create a care plan suited to their specific needs. The ultimate aim is to try to avoid a situation where those patients have to come in for emergency treatment. The students can then monitor the patients and communicate with them using Patients Know Best. It’s early days but if this is successful – it will certainly grow.”

Continuing he said:

“I see that patient-controlled care is the future of medicine and my hope is that this project can show that pressure can be taken off the NHS – when the patient is given more responsibility for their care.”

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