Viewpoint: CCGs can learn primary care integration from China

I recently had the privilege of visiting China to look at their healthcare system - it's the fourth time I've been abroad on similar fact-finding missions.

This time our team were looking to establish research partnerships with organisations struggling with the demographic changes wrought by population and lifestyle changes.

Every trip is different. Sometimes I see details which can be incorporated into the way the NHS functions, sometimes I see pitfalls that we have or should avoid.

China has traditional medicine, people, money, hospitals and beds galore. It lacks general practice, general practitioners and a national health service.

Relief to return to the NHS but...

There was a lot to see and much work to be done but returning to the UK came with a sense of relief to be back in a system which does not have a payment office opposite reception, in which access to general practice is plentiful and free.

However, there is one aspect of the Chinese system of which we should take note. Seamless integration of out-of-hospital services centred around units which combine diagnostics, outpatients, primary care and public health, alongside a general practice which also managed the equivalent of the integrated nursing home.

We have all of those components but their function is fragmented by organisation. Even our practices are fragmented into small units swimming against a rising tide of demand.

Soon many of us will be commissioning that element of the system, along with secondary care. Change will be needed, but care is required. Remember, don't push too hard because your dreams are like China in your hands.

  • Dr Chris Mimnagh is a GP and co-director of clincial strategy at Liverpool Health Partners.

Photo: UNP

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Hundreds of GPs a month seek mental health support as COVID-19 pressure bites

Hundreds of GPs a month seek mental health support as COVID-19 pressure bites

More than 200 GPs a month are seeking mental health support as COVID-19 drives up...

Viewpoint: GPs will be there for patients this winter, but at what cost?

Viewpoint: GPs will be there for patients this winter, but at what cost?

Rising to new challenges is in GPs' DNA and the profession has not let patients down...

GPs to be told 'shortly' how they can reclaim PPE costs

GPs to be told 'shortly' how they can reclaim PPE costs

Information on how practices will be reimbursed for PPE costs incurred during the...

GPs demand support as COVID hotspots sound alarm over rising workload

GPs demand support as COVID hotspots sound alarm over rising workload

GP leaders have accused the government of 'behaving as if the second wave is an unexpected...

Abusive graffiti daubed on side of GP practice in Bristol

Abusive graffiti daubed on side of GP practice in Bristol

GPs at a practice in Bristol arrived at work this week to find abusive graffiti daubed...

GP capacity hit hard as 60% lost colleagues to self-isolation in past fortnight

GP capacity hit hard as 60% lost colleagues to self-isolation in past fortnight

More than three in five GPs say they or clinical colleagues have been forced to self-isolate...