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A ‘modern vision’ needed to ‘take patients with us’ in primary care

A ‘modern vision’ needed to ‘take patients with us’ in primary care
Image credit: Andrew Hendry

Primary care is the ‘bedrock of the NHS’, but a ‘modern vision’ is needed to meet new demands, delegates at the NHS Confederation Expo heard today.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard warned that the NHS ‘needs to grow,’ with primary care being central to the successful development of the NHS.

She said ‘we are making progress’ with more clinical staff working in surgeries to ‘manage the new demands from society,’ including clinical pharmacists, and recently, the appointment of the ‘first ever’ primary care dementia nurse.

‘It’s clear the GP workforce will need to grow in some parts of the country faster than others. But again, that can’t be the only solution.’

‘We need a modern vision for primary care,’ Ms Pritchard explained.

She later stressed the need to ‘make it easier’ for practices to meet ‘urgent demands alongside community work and preventative work,’ in a way that ‘takes patients with us’ and delivers high quality healthcare closer to home.

Recalling a visit to a primary care centre in Manchester in January, Ms Pritchard described the work of a primary care team who showed ‘ambition’ when working to tackle the ‘serious health inequalities’ being faced by homeless women.

‘We want the ambition they showed to be the norm, and it can be if we give primary care the tools they need.’

She called for the ‘same ambition’ for community care, explaining how the sector is ‘already delivering’ around 300,000 patient contacts per day, and ‘already innovating’ in its urgent community response teams.

‘If we want community teams to work seamlessly with other services, if we want an ambulance at A&E attendance or an admission really to be the last resort, if we want people to only be in hospital for as long as they need acute medical care, then we’ll need to get serious about how we achieve it.

‘I want to be clear; this is a three-legged stool, recruit, retain and reform, we can’t pick and choose and decide we only want to do one or two of the three,’ Ms Pritchard warned.


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