BBC’s The One Show has featured the work of West Lancashire practice nurse Maggi Bradley, in a piece highlighting innovation in general practice to improve waiting times.
Ms Bradley began a series of video clinics for small groups of patients during the Covid pandemic at Aughton Surgery.
The project was recognised in The General Practice Awards in December 2021, in which she was named Practice Nurse of the Year at an event held in London.
The One Show interviewed Ms Bradley and patients about the group video clinics via a laptop screen, which enabled her to see all her patients while reducing waiting times. The programme aired yesterday (21 June, available on iPlayer).
Ms Bradley was filmed describing the benefits of the project: ‘We are using it for asthmatics; diabetic patients; post natal women; long Covid. It’s reduced the footfall in surgeries so we can say things once and six, seven or eight patients are there to hear that.’
‘I think they’ve [patients] enjoyed seeing other people and listening to other people’s stories and learning from other people. Because no matter how many times I can say a thing to a person one to one its so much more powerful when another person with that same condition says it.’
Patients also commented that attending the small group video sessions made them feel ‘less alone’ during Covid and another said that it helped him come to terms with having cancer. One patient said that similar video groups should be a rolled out nationwide, saying: ‘The more that this would be adopted by other practices the better; patients will benefit.’
A Queen’s Nurse with 25 years’ experience of nursing in general practice, and an additional role as a nursing clinical lead at Sefton Training Hub, Ms Bradley was nominated for The General Practice Awards for setting up the video group clinics after noticing patients ‘were beginning to manifest feelings of isolation, fear and anxiety’ during the Covid-19 pandemic.
She also was able to involve a small group of second-year nursing students, who’d had some placements cancelled due to Covid.
Speaking to Nursing in Practice today Ms Bradley said that the group video clinics have been going from strength to strength, and that other practices are asking to find out more: ‘We have an asthma clinic running this afternoon, and nurses from another area are taking part to see how it’s run.
‘We’ve just run our fourth long Covid session, and the patients want us to carry on. It’s doing so much good for these patients.’
The long Covid video small group sessions have included talks from dieticians and wellbeing experts and have included advice such as breathing exercises.
In a recent article published by Nursing in Practice, Ms Bradley described how she was no digital expert before she began running the sessions and how she had learned so much by initiating the project. ‘It helps develop you in a different way and it’s given me a real sense of leadership,’ she said.
She added: ‘I definitely would recommend this to other practices. It gives patients an extra choice – a different way of seeing you. It’s more efficient for people who don’t have the time to come into the practice, and particularly suits people who may still be anxious about being out.’
Maggi Bradley will be a judge for the general practice nurse category in The General Practice Awards 2022, which have just closed for entries a record number of submissions. Follow @gp_awards on Twitter for the shortlist to be revealed later in the year, and the winners will be announced on 9 December.