Primary care networks can be lynchpin of integrated care at place level

Louise Patten and Ruth Rankine respond to news that Dr Claire Fuller will lead a review on how primary care networks can be supported in ICSs

10 November 2021

At the NHS Confederation’s first virtual conference for ICS leaders, Amanda Pritchard, NHS England’s chief executive, announced that Dr Claire Fuller, senior responsible officer of the Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System, will lead a review on how primary care networks can be supported in integrated care systems.

Louise Patten, the NHS Confederation’s ICS Network director, said:

"Primary care networks, with their broad range of services and in-depth knowledge of their populations, can be the lynchpin of joined-up care at place level, as we have seen throughout the last year with the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

“This review will be welcomed by our members in and across primary care and ICSs, who will recognise the unprecedented pressure that primary care colleagues are under to attempt to meet patients’ needs.

“As the representative of all parts of the NHS and with strong links to colleagues in local government, the NHS Confederation will seek to make a whole-system input into this review to ensure it delivers clear advice to systems and their constituent parts as to what truly integrated care looks like and what is needed to make it a reality.

Ruth Rankine, director of primary care at the NHS Confederation, said: “We are really supportive of the appointment of Dr Claire Fuller and confident in her ability to lead this work. She is a highly respected ICS leader and has a proven track record at Surrey Heartlands, where primary care is represented at all levels in the system and has strong relationships with key local partners.

"There are several areas where there is mature and effective collaboration between primary care and other partners locally, and the challenge is to achieve it all over the country. That means learning from what is working well while recognising that one size will not fit all. It will be necessary to understand the principles and culture that underpins a collaborative approach to share priorities and reducing health inequalities.”

People can track the conference on Twitter using #ICSnetwork