Dr Tony Naughton is the clinical chief officer at NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group. He is also a practising GP at The Thornton Practice.

It has been wonderful to see such fantastic results from the care homes project going on in Thornton, Poulton and Over Wyre, which is providing dedicated care to some of our most vulnerable patients and keeping them out of hospital.

As a GP, it is very difficult to manage patients who have chronic long-term illnesses through normal appointments and so to know that the 500 care home residents in the Wyre neighbourhood are receiving this service is very pleasing.

After being authorised back in 2013, we recognised that despite only being a relatively small area, Fylde and Wyre had enormous differences in its population across the different areas we serve.

For that reason we divided our population into four neighbourhoods – Kirkham and Wesham; Lytham, St Annes, Freckleton and Ansdell; Thornton, Poulton and Over Wyre; and Fleetwood.

This has given GPs in those areas the opportunity to work together to combat the range of health needs of their local communities.

These GP collaborations have already led to success in Fleetwood where practices there formed the Fleetwood Federation and successfully bid for funding under the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund to trial services including video consultations, a Pharmacy First scheme and out of hours appointments.

And all practices in Wyre came together as the Wyre Integrated Neighbourhood to develop this excellent project which has already reduced hospital admissions and cut unnecessary medicines on repeat prescriptions.

As well as providing much better care for our patients, this helps us to save money at a time when the CCG needs to be more careful than ever where it is investing cash in local services.

And it is for this reason that the CCG has this week taken the decision to extend this pilot scheme until July 2017, at which point we can truly see the benefits of the new service over a lengthy period of time.