Successful primary care pilot expands to 92 sites

NAPC welcomes the supportive comments by Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, telling the Health Service Journal that the Primary Care Home model “goes with the grain” of primary care and there was “a huge latent appetite” for the PCH model. This comes at a time when the NAPC celebrates its first anniversary since launching Primary Care Home and prepares to expand the model to cover up to five million people. 

The Primary Care Home initiative has seen 15 local health and care communities spend the past year creating new ways of working and new services to meet local people’s needs.

The key feature across the whole programme has been a focus on multi-disciplinary teams working collaboratively around the needs of defined populations. Local initiatives have focused on improving wellbeing, for instance through ‘social prescribing’ of non-medical services such as exercise, as well as promoting direct access for appropriate services like physiotherapy, removing the need for patients to always see a GP
before being referred.

Other initiatives have developed joint working with social care, police and fire services and voluntary organisations. Some sites are using digital technology e.g. for diagnosing skin conditions or helping with
the monitoring of diabetes remotely.

Many of these approaches are beginning to show benefit in reducing workload within primary care and in freeing up GP appointments.

Now the programme, led by the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) in association with NHS England’s New Care Models team, is being extended to another 77 organisations across England. This will extend the scheme to cover a population of up to five million people through 92 organisations.

NAPC Chair Dr Nav Chana said: “This initiative has been successful because it is driven by clinicians and other staff groups at the front-line who have organised themselves more effectively to deliver services built around people. It is built on the principles of local design and ownership with some programme support to make those plans a reality. We believe that is why it is working and that is why it is proving so popular.”

“It is heartening to see the results this programme has delivered, and the enthusiasm to see it spread further,” added Dr James Kingsland, President of the NAPC. “It is clear it is building staff morale and thereby improving recruitment and retention and overall primary care resilience, which is one of the biggest risk factors for the sector.”

NAPC Chief Executive John Pope said: “This truly is a grass-roots movement in primary care and it’s great to see the support for this programme, as shown by the fact that so many organisations wish to join the Community of Practice, which will form a valuable resource for sharing lessons and best practice.”

Samantha Jones, Director – New Care Models Programme, said: “We are delighted with the results Primary Care Home has achieved so far with our support. Primary Care Home has an extremely important role to play in developing and delivering change in local healthand care services and it complements the work the vanguards and others are doing to implement new models of care, in particular the multispecialty community provider (MCP) and integrated primary and acute care system (PACS) models. Like the vanguards, Primary Care Home is helping to improve health for people locally, delivering care closer to where people live, preventing ill health and improving the working lives of staff.”

The achievements of the first year of Primary Care Home are being celebrated in a report published this week at an event in London attended by representatives of many of the current and future sites.

The Primary Care Home initiative is based on four key principles:
• Creating integrated teams from primary and acute care, community services and social care, with a range of skills to deliver services when and where patients need them
• A unified budget for the collective team, to avoid perverse incentives created by different funding flows
• Focus on a population of 30,000-50,000 people, which experience has shown is large enough to create a sustainable organisation while retaining local knowledge
• A focus on prevention and maintaining wellbeing as well as caring for the ill

Leaders of NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) have endorsed the programme. Sir Andrew Cash, lead for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw STP, said:
“On a recent visit to Larwood Surgery, I was able to see first-hand a model of integrated primary care that is focussed on neighbourhoods and specific populations and the difference this approach can make. This is essential if we are to deliver improved care for people, support staff and realise the efficiencies we need. There are a number of ways to achieve this but the model chosen by Larwood was developed using the NAPC’s Primary Care Home approach.”

Angela Pedder, lead for Wider Devon STP, commented:
“I’ve seen the future NHS working in Devon today. In order to deliver the care our communities need in the future we need providers and clinicians to proactively get engaged; and to take more leadership and accountability for the whole health of their whole population. What I’ve seen in Primary Care Home, in Beacon Medical group and their many partners on the ground, is true collaboration – working together, trying and
delivering new models and offering care that is both high quality and sustainable.”

NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens, speaking at the launch of PCH in 2015, said:
“This programme offers an innovative approach to strengthening and re-designing primary care, centred around the needs of local communities, and tapping into the expertise of a wide array of health professionals. … This will be another step towards greater integration between primary and secondary care and to providing personal population-orientated primary care where physical, mental and social care is integrated around the needs of

Notes to editors:
1. Primary Care Home integrated teams may involve GPs, practice nurses, specialist nurses such as diabetes nurses, paramedics, mental health nurses, community matrons, district nurses, hospital consultants, social workers, ‘social prescribers’, and staff and volunteers from a wide range of voluntary sector organisations.

2. For more information about Primary Care Home please see

3. To interview colleagues who have led this initiative including representatives of the sites please contact Min Grout at

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