GP funding deal to transform primary care

GP funding deal to transform primary care

January 31, 2019

NHS England has announced a £4.5bn funding package for GPs in a five-year deal that is designed to transform local healthcare systems.

The deal includes funding that will help to fund the widespread development of Primary Care Networks (PCNs), which will be multi-disciplinary teams of healthcare professionals working together at a local level to deliver joined up patient care. Each PCN will cover around 30-50,000 GP registered patients.

General practice will be at the heart of the PCNs, but NHS England has said that it wants an additional 20,000 people to work alongside GPs in the networks.

This will include a considerable number of clinical pharmacists who will deliver services such as structured medication reviews. Each PCN is expected to have a number of these pharmacists delivering care.

NHS England has confirmed that these PCN pharmacists will not necessarily need to be employed by GP practices, but they will need to work as part of the integrated care team that makes up the PCN.

The funding comes into effect from April 2020, and the changes are expected to amount to a transformation in general practice and primary healthcare services.

Simon Dukes, PSNC Chief Executive, said:

“This funding deal gives us a very clear indication of the way in which HM Government and NHS England want primary care services to develop in the foreseeable future. Progress will be made through multi-disciplinary networks which have GPs at their heart and deliver patient-focused care.

The scale of this transformation is unprecedented, and GPs will undoubtedly benefit from being supported to deliver these changes with a five-year funding package – this is exactly the approach that the NHS must now take with community pharmacies so that we too can play our part in improving local healthcare.

For community pharmacy the changes offer a unique opportunity for us to embed ourselves further within primary care. GPs will be bringing together local healthcare providers into the new networks and we must engage proactively with them and find ways to position ourselves within those PCNs. All pharmacies will need to take steps to work as closely with local GPs as they can. Success will also involve transforming the services that we offer, and community pharmacies will need to be ready for radical changes, such as partnering with other contractors to jointly meet the needs of their local PCN.

PSNC will be working with the other national pharmacy organisations to facilitate all of this. Our objective is for community pharmacies to be fully involved in these multi-disciplinary networks. We must find ways for community pharmacists to perform some of the roles of the PCN clinical pharmacists and we want to work with NHS England to facilitate local engagement to ensure that community pharmacy is at the heart of the developing local plans.

The role of local leadership and engagement will also become more critical than ever, and PSNC will be working with the LPCs to help them through this difficult work, ensuring that they have the skills, capacity and support to succeed.”

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