Creative Collaboration in Primary Care

Creative Collaboration in Primary Care

Creative Collaboration in Primary Care

“Luton practices have been working together in groupings covering 30-70,000 patients… Practices have been looking at how they can staff differently… We now have a workforce that can see hope. They can see a possibility of working differently and of being in charge of their own destiny, managing their own workload.”

Dr Nina Pearson, GP Lead 

Dr Pearson identifies the generational shift which is currently taking place in Primary Care, from symptom-led care to ‘whole person’ healthcare. Innovative and creative collaboration in Primary Care is one of the ways the NHS Long Term Plan aims to achieve the “move from treating illness, to identifying and helping people as soon as they notice something isn’t quite right.

Different Staffing Models for GP Practices

The traditional idea of a local practice comprising a number of GPs and a team of nurses, is shifting to accommodate a more holistic, and preventative approach to health. Practices now employ a much greater range of healthcare staff including pharmacists, paramedics, social prescribing link workers, and physiotherapists.

This expanded team is able to consider both the physical and mental health of patients; they’re also expanding the range of treatments available. Prescriptions continue to provide medicine, but they also include social prescribing, personalised care, support for conditions related to ageing, and medicines optimisation.

A Changing Experience of Health for Patients

“National surveys tell us that over 40% of people want to be more involved in decisions about their care, and similarly 40% of people living with LTC want more support to manage their health and wellbeing on a day-to-day basis.”

– NHS England

Asking a patient to describe their symptoms gives a partial and imprecise view of their condition. Primary care is now moving from asking ‘What’s the matter?” to discussing with patients how healthcare resources can best be deployed to increase their wellbeing and alleviate their symptoms. This collaborative approach to care increases the value experienced by patients, and encourages a more long-term, productive use of funding.

Examples of Creative Collaboration in Primary Care

Examples of Creative Collaboration in Primary Care

The integrated care system for whole person health is supported by the rapid innovation of digital technologies in healthcare that make collaborative practices in primary care easier and more efficient.

  • National Innovation Collaborative for Digital Health. This is a support system that brings together health and social care professionals in order to grow their knowledge and share their experiences of using technology to care for people in their own homes. Over the past two years this initiative has been involved in 100 projects in England allowing 360,000 patients to be treated via remote monitoring.
  • North Central and East London Provider Collective. This is a collaboration between 5 trusts and their service users. They commission and provide child and adolescent inpatient mental heath services in London practices. The approach has improved the outcome for patients and made significant savings for healthcare budgets.
  • Ways to Wellbeing in York. Social prescribers are embedded in a range of services across York. People can be referred, or self-refer, and this leads to an informal discussion in which they’re asked ‘what matters to them’ and any ‘gaps’ they’ve identified in health provision. A plan is then made, collaboratively to determine ways to improve their wellbeing, utilising available primary care and voluntary services.