Capacity pressures in general practice contribute to a lack of prioritisation for wound care management, a Public Policy Project (PPP) report has found.
The report – called Going further for wound healing – was compiled following a series of roundtable discussions with wound care experts and key health sector stakeholders, and supplemented with independent research and analysis.
The findings highlight the need to better integrate wound care with integrated care systems (ICSs) by breaking down silos at local level and between organisations, professionals, caregivers and patients.
According to the report, as well as general practice capacity pressures, wound care provision has been adversely affected by ‘competing priorities’, potentially exacerbated by a recent focus on improving access to care as part of the Recovering Access to Primary Care Plan.
While wound care management is largely delivered in community settings, community care receives less attention than other parts of care services, the report found.
As the traditional first point of contact for patients with health and care services, GPs should be more ‘comprehensively engaged’ with wound care and able to align it to Quality of Framework priorities.
However, to ensure effective prioritisation of wound treatment, roundtable participants called for more ‘collaborative incentives’ for the wider primary care sector, rather than single incentives just for general practice.
One GP participant stressed that ‘this is not just a general practice problem – collaboration between primary care, community services and social care, who all have some of the workforce required, is needed’.
‘Sector-wide neglect’ has resulted in a decline in the number of educational opportunities available for wound care, the report found. This has contributed to ‘significant knowledge gaps’ among the workforce, inevitably leading to a variation in patient outcomes.
In addition, evidence-based wound healing protocols are ‘not being effectively utilised’ in the prevention and treatment of wounds.
The report called for an increase in training and a ‘shift in culture’ to promote the appropriate implementation of existing protocols.
This requires the establishment of a ‘top-down approach’ where, with the support of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHS England should set wound care as a national priority.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Dr Crystal Oldman, chief executive of the Queen’s Nursing Institute, said: ‘We need leadership at the highest level for wound care, we need to improve education for nurses right from the beginning, to fire up student nurses and get all nurses excited about the potential of good wound care to improve people’s lives.’