Primary care model for 50,000-patient groups to be extended across England

A model of care that brings GP practices into partnership across 50,000-patient populations is set to be rolled out to around 4m people across England.

Dr James Kingsland: NAPC president backs 'primary care home' model
Dr James Kingsland: NAPC president backs 'primary care home' model

The 'primary care home' model brings practices together across populations of up to 50,000 patients to integrate the primary, secondary and social care workforce.

The model, which was developed by the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) in line with the NHS’ Five Year Forward View multispeciality community provider model, has been implemented in 15 pilot sites to date, covering around 500,000 patients.

Funding is merged into a single capitated budget, and the pilots focused on personalisation of care and improving population health outcomes.

Primary care home

NAPC president Dr James Kingsland said the scheme had ‘progressed at pace.’

‘As a result, more resources are to be made available to the programme with a plan to provide a range of senior managers with experience in primary care delivery to help spread the programme,’ he said.

‘There is a strong sense that this programme will truly be transformational in the delivery of first-contact primary care within the NHS.’

One of the primary care home pilot sites covers six practices in Cumbria that face health challenges including high levels of obesity in children, deprivation caused by high levels of unemployment and elderly patients with complex conditions in rural and sparsely populated areas.

The pilot introduced a multi-skilled team including specialist practice nurses, community nurses and GPs from primary care, specialist hospital consultants, and social workers from the local authority and voluntary organisations.

NHS models of care

Sarah Cousins, practice manager of Maryport GP practice, one of the practices involved, said the scheme saw much more effective communication between health and social workers. She said treatment was proactive rather reactive, and consequently ‘We are asking questions much earlier around each patient's support networks and underlying issues.

‘This information is then effectively communicated between all of the different interested parties and a healthcare plan is devised and wrapped around the patient to address their particular needs.

‘At the most basic level this means that the patient is not having to repeat themselves, but also means that healthcare is delivered far more efficiently with duplication of resources between different community organisations and healthcare providers largely avoided.’

Scott McKenzie of BW Medical Accountants, who advised practices in the Cumbria pilot, said the practices were 'breaking new ground'.

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