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Primary care plan released by NHS Alliance

A reduction in bureaucracy and a more collaborative working environment would motivate primary care health professionals more than an increase in income, says a report from the NHS Alliance.

Think Big, Act Now: Creating A Community Of Care suggests a change in approach to the NHS is required and an environment in which healthcare professionals are able to interact more freely is key.

It also highlights the importance of relationships between staff and describes this principle as responsive and responsible.

Chairman of NHS Alliance, Dr Michael Dixon describes their vision as a “defining moment” for primary care. 

He said: “The perfect storm of pressures facing primary care makes it likely that change will come, whether or not it is wanted. We want to see change by design rather than default: change led by those working within the service who best understand the issues they and the communities around them face. Our members tell us they are exhausted and demoralised but still passionately believe in an NHS free at the point of need and we believe there is light ahead.

He went on to say that it “is not all about the money” and primary care professionals “crave the time and space to spend time serving patients rather than dealing with endless paperwork”.

The Alliance proposes the implementation of general practice at scale, although not just GPs, and the financial input to support it.

“It is not all about GPs. And while it may not be about the money in terms of GP income, we do believe financial support is required [for this] rapid transformation. This must come in two forms - one, a return to at least a 10% share for primary care of overall NHS budget to reflect the fact that more than 80% care is delivered outside hospital, and two, a dedicated General Practice Development Fund to allow immediate action to be taken,” Dr Dixon adds.

The report argues that this approach has the potential to reap immediate benefits and relive the huge pressures currently placed on GPs, practice and community nurses, practice managers and community pharmacists.

The six-month findings suggest a ten-point plan and five immediate steps to address the situation, which were:

- Use community and district nurses, community pharmacists, community eye care and hearing specialists to help address the deficit of GPs and share care across the sector

- Change the role of Senior Community to co-ordinate healthcare for elderly with long-term conditions

- Introduce a new role called Community Health Connector 

- Initiate a new focus on social prescribing 

- To have a General Practice Development Fund to enable General Practice to be supported