Responding to Dr Claire Fuller's national stocktake on how systems work with primary care, Matthew Taylor chief executive of the NHS Confederation said:
“We were delighted to host the launch of this stocktake with Dr Claire Fuller.
"This review must be a watershed moment for establishing primary care as an integral part of local systems, working across boundaries to deliver population-based care, and a demonstration of the benefits of the integration agenda.
“We welcomed the opportunity to ensure the voice of health leaders, including from primary care, were at the heart of this review. They will be encouraged that their experiences feature strongly in Dr Fuller’s assessment and that her recommendations have the backing of every ICS in the country.
“Our members – from primary care leaders through to ICSs – agree that investing in local relationships, developing and supporting frontline workers, and maintaining stability in general practice are the key components to achieving fully integrated primary care. If we are to get serious about ramping up prevention, improving patient outcomes including by tackling health inequalities, and providing more personalised care, primary care’s deep-rooted connection to its local communities cannot be overstated.
“In particular, primary care providers have worked hard to provide more services closer to where people live, with over 18,200 additional roles, such as clinical pharmacists, mental health practitioners, nursing and physician associates and social prescribers, having been recruited already. With the immediate coronavirus pressures having changed, health leaders are committed to tackling the underlying causes of ill-health as well as managing the day-to-day demands for access to care even more. Establishing integrated neighbourhood teams alongside hospital, community and other specialists is a natural evolution of a model that makes best use of the NHS’s expertise and resources to do this.
“Our members across the system now want to see the recommendations taken forward at both national and regional levels in a collaborative way, working with those who have the front-line experience to help shape the future. Members of our ICS Network have demonstrated great unity in their endorsement of the report and are now focused on taking forward implementation as swiftly and effectively as possible.
“While leaders are hopeful that the actions from Dr Fuller’s review will lead to tangible improvements, they are very aware that a lot depends on addressing what was out of scope. Falling GP numbers and other workforce challenges, insufficient funding, and contractual and commissioning arrangements have the potential to be major blockers in realising this new vision for primary care if they are not given sufficient attention nationally.”
We are the membership organisation that brings together, supports and speaks for the whole healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The members we represent employ 1.5 million staff, care for more than 1 million patients a day and control £150 billion of public expenditure. We promote collaboration and partnership working as the key to improving population health, delivering high-quality care and reducing health inequalities.