The National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) has today (31 January 2019) welcomed a new five-year deal for general practice of almost £1bn with another £1.8bn to support the development of primary care networks – including primary care homes.
The ramping up of investment for primary care – which was first unveiled by the Prime Minister at the end of last year – will enable primary care homes and primary care networks in the first year to employ at least one social prescribing link worker and one clinical pharmacist with over 20,000 additional people by 2023/24 including physiotherapists, physician associates and paramedics.
Dr Minesh Patel, NAPC chair, said: “The five-year deal and this ramping up of investment for primary care marks a milestone for primary care.
“We now have 220 primary care homes across England spearheading the transformation of integrated primary care across England. These established primary care networks, serving 9 million patients, 16% of the population will now have the means to surge ahead with real momentum – to redesign their services and expand their teams based on their local population health needs.
“Within current resources, primary care homes are already making a real difference to patients – increasing patient satisfaction and reducing pressure on the wider health system, the new money will mean they can go so much further. We look forward to sharing their learning over the coming weeks and months.”
Developed by the NAPC, the primary care home model was launched three years ago and is a leading example of a primary care network – the cornerstone of the NHS Long Term Plan.
There are many examples of elements of the Long Term Plan underway across primary care homes – including a proactive population health management approach, a key characteristic of the primary care home model.
The new contract and funding will provide momentum for primary care homes, enabling existing sites to strengthen their approach and assist new emerging sites to build strong foundations to provide more personalised, multi-disciplinary integrated care closer to home.
St Austell Healthcare was one of the first primary care home sites. Initial funding as a rapid test site enabled it to work with other organisations to deliver more services including social prescribing, a visiting service for the housebound and ophthalmology.
Responding to today’s announcement, its managing partner Bridget Sampson said: “We are delighted with the new contract for primary care networks and funding. This will really help us to strengthen and expand our primary care home and work in a more integrated way with health, social care, community partners and local businesses.
“The funding will enable us to develop and meet the unique opportunities and challenges facing everyone in the St Austell area, delivering more services closer to home. This includes having dedicated mental health clinicians working as part of the practice team, delivering more outpatients clinics locally, for example for cancer care, haematology, ophthalmology as well as working collaboratively with community partners.”
Dr James Morrow, GP and Granta Primary Care Home Lead said: “This announcement of substantial real funding is welcome. Primary care already delivers fantastic value for money.
“This new resource will enable and empower primary care networks including primary care homes to better serve our populations, both as provider and integrator of care. It is vital that the funding reaches the front line. At Granta PCH, we are ready, willing and able to forge ahead with this new funding.”
Fleetwood Primary Care Home Lead Dr Mark Spencer said: “I really welcome today’s GP contract agreement announcement. There is much to be positive about regarding primary care network development and their pivotal role within integrated primary care that will benefit both residents and staff.
“The significant investment in expanding the workforce will not only give patients a wider choice of health care professionals to better meet their needs but will also significantly reduce the pressure on GP practices.
“For Fleetwood PCH this will mean an additional 15 clinicians over the next four years as well as funding for primary care home development and leadership.”