What is a Primary Care Home?
What Is The NHS Primary Care Home Programme?
What is a Primary Care Home? What are the implications of the PCH Programme for UK patients and healthcare workers? We’ve explored the initiative in this article.
NHS England launched the Primary Care Home Programme in October 2015 and there are now over 200 Primary Care Home sites across England, serving nine million patients - 16% of the population.
The brainchild of the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC). The Primary Care Home Model brings together primary, secondary and social care providers to deliver higher quality personalised and preventative care to their local communities.
The Model is intended to revolutionise primary care delivery at the local level, through nurturing collaboration between multidisciplinary teams. Referred to as ‘Primary Care Networks’ these teams involve practices working together and with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas.
Primary Care Home: 4 Key Characteristics
The NAPC define a Primary Care Home as a population-based model of care delivered by a collaboration of providers, focused on improving population health outcomes to support four characteristics. These are:
1. an integrated workforce, with a strong focus on partnerships spanning primary, secondary and social care
2. a combined focus on personalisation of care with improvements in population health outcomes
3. aligned clinical and financial drivers through a unified, capitated budget with appropriate shared risks and rewards
4. provision of care to a defined, registered population of between 30,000 and 50,000.
What are the outcomes of the Primary Care Home Programme?
• Improved patient care: centralising staff within practices means care teams can talk face-to-face, making for more joined-up and responsive patient care.
“No more attempts at trying to create workable partnerships through the integration of disparate organisations who often have different commissions, governance and incentives.” - Dr James Kingsland, NAPC President
• Unburdened GPs: delegation of workload, resources and performance targets across a multidisciplinary team relieves GPs, giving them more time to focus on the most needy patients.
“With doctors focusing on what they should be doing, supported by colleagues from nursing, allied health professions and management. Just creating that team-based feel of working collaboratively creates headroom and improves morale.” - Dr Nav Chana, Chair of the NAPC
• Broader social care remit: broader community needs are met (beyond medicine), with voluntary services located in the PCH to addresses other major social challenges.
“We are helping patients to deal with issues that have a big impact on health needs. Patients can access a range of services for problems such as domestic violence, mental health, substance misuse and loneliness.” - Dr Steve Kell, Larwood and Bawtry Care Home.
• A happier and more loyal workforce: the more collaborative model is proving attractive to new recruits in healthcare who favour a team working approach. Research in participating practices has also evidenced improved job satisfaction alongside an acknowledgement of improved patient outcomes and reduced workload.
“Clinicians describe this as a change from reactively providing appointments to proactively care for the people and communities they serve.” - NHS England
• Cost savings: resulting from a plethora of reported factors including reduced A&E admissions due to extended primary care access, and prescribing savings that have resulted from greater involvement of pharmacists in general practice.
The emergence of Primary Care Networks is already proving revolutionary, with participating practices reporting significant cost savings and improvements in efficiencies, communications and patient care. Watch-out for a PCH near you, as Clinical Commissioning Groups are tasked with actively encouraging every practice to be part of a local Primary Care Network to cover as much of the country as possible by the end of 2019. Watch this space!
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