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We know that the NHS needs to rapidly address some big and long-standing challenges including GP access, waiting lists, delayed discharges, the sustainability of urgent care services, planetary health and health inequality. However, these issues will never be sustainably tackled without a credible and funded commitment to prevention through a focus on population health improvement and the wellbeing of the workforce.

The National Association Primary Care (NAPC) is a membership organisation that delivers change and innovation in primary care and we have a track record of doing this by providing not only expertise but also hope, joy and meaning to a workforce exhausted by covid and the intensity of unsustainable service delivery. We acknowledge that all of this needs to be achieved in an economically sustainable way that improves patient satisfaction and increases professional experience and retention.

We also know that people living in the most deprived areas have the poorest access to GPs, are more likely to attend A+E, have higher levels of emergency admissions, wait longer for hospital treatment and experience unnecessarily longer length of stay in hospitals. Better, earlier support means better outcomes for citizens, a more sustainable use of funds and greater engagement from our valuable workforce. We absolutely recognise the benefit of multi-disciplinary team working as demonstrated by our community health and wellbeing worker schemes. These teams are supported by PCNs and local authorities across the country addressing these issues head on, but we would also call for more funding for GPs across the country.

Leaders must also take the opportunity to transform how the NHS enables care through the use of digital technology and we have been working with partners across North West London to implement a digital front door. We recognise that achieving transformation across all of these areas will require unprecedented engagement and co-production with the workforce and citizens at a time when there is significant change fatigue within the NHS. Activated citizens can feel the benefits of improving their own health and wellbeing and a skilled workforce that feels valued is the driving force we need to transform the NHS.

We have demonstrated that we can deliver improvement in all these areas at every level of the NHS and with relatively little funding but we would also like to see funding to support a broader base of research across the entire health and care sector focused on outcomes and wellbeing rather than just novel therapies.

We need government that is prepared to take a holistic approach across policy domains to address inequalities from food, alcohol and tobacco regulation to preserving and promoting resilience and physical/mental wellbeing from an early age as we know that 80% of our outcomes are determined by non-health ‘interventions’.

We have high hopes for a renewed commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of the nation by genuinely supporting clinicians and citizens to take a more proactive approach. We  are confident that we can make a meaningful impact not in years but in weeks and months working in partnership across primary and secondary care, to provide services that work for communities.

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