Millom is leading the way as a hospital consultant and health trust mangers become formal partners in a Millom GP practice as part of a pioneering scheme which is the first of it's kind in England.
The groundbreaking move will involve representatives from the area's hospital trust and county NHS group taking over the running of Waterloo House GP Practice in Millom.
It is hoped the link-up will allow doctors to spend more time with patients and reduce the number of people who need to be admitted to hospital.
Millom's Dr Richard Walker, a GP at Waterloo House surgery, explained there would be a raft of benefits for the town, including having the expertise of leaders from different organisations at their disposal.
"We are very pleased to have the two health trusts join the practice as partners," he said.
"It is well known that there is a shortage of GPs nationally and Millom is no exception.
The new partners include Dr Paul Grout, Furness General Hospital's accident and emergency consultant and trust deputy medical director, and Kate Maynard, deputy chief operating officer at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.
Dr John Howarth, deputy chief executive of the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has now also become a partner, alongside CPFT colleague Dee Houghton, associate director of operations for South Cumbria Community Services.
GPs at Waterloo House practice will continue to provide overall clinical leadership for patients.
But the new partners will take over the business side of the surgery, including its finances and support services, such as IT, equipment and procurement.
Dr Grout said: "It's early days but the work we have been doing over the last few months is already showing promising signs, with a 23 per cent reduction in unplanned admissions to our acute hospitals.
"This new way of working has huge potential to be delivering more care locally in Millom and looking after the health needs of the population much more effectively."
Dr Howarth hopes the arrangement, which has the backing of Millom Alliance as well as Bay Health and Care Partners, will also speed up a project to replace the cramped surroundings at Waterloo House with a redesigned, fit for purpose layout and extension.
He said: "Our most immediate challenge is to secure upgraded premises as the existing facilities are extremely cramped and very challenging for both staff and patients.
"We will be working urgently with NHS England to access the funds they granted last year so we can deliver the planned extension that the community so desperately needs."
Source: NWEM at http://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/millom/Millom-leads-the-way-in-UK-first-for-healthcare-febbc094-d3be-4cc4-a06b-70cd69490fda-ds