What Are Primary Care Homes And What Do They Mean For GPs?

A new model is being introduced to the healthcare sphere in an attempt to make primary care more holistic and effective within communities. As GP Online reports, the model would position pharmacies as ‘neighbourhood health and wellbeing hubs’, and advocates that pharmacists’ skills could be more productively used alongside primary care homes.

The new model the NAPC (National Association of Primary Care) has introduced as a result sets out plans to integrate the primary care services in local communities. The aim is to improve the holistic care and management of chronic conditions and episodic treatment.

This model has so far been rolled out to over 200 sites in England, serving around 8 million people.

What is the Primary Care Home model?

So what exactly does this new model consist of? The report explains that “the model seeks to link staff from general practice, community-based services, hospitals, mental health services, social care and voluntary organisations to deliver joined-up care.” The main aims of the model are:

  • To foster an integrated workforce, focusing on partnerships offering primary, secondary and social care
  • A holistic emphasis on personalised care, aspiring for improvements in population health
  • “Aligned clinical and financial drivers through a unified budget with appropriate shared risks and rewards”
  • Providing care to a registered population of between 30,000 and 50,000

An integrated approach

The core objective of the Primary Care Home model is to provide holistic care within the community, from GP surgeries, to care homes, to pharmacies. NHS England explains that under this structure, all healthcare professionals join as a community, whether they work in GP surgeries, community nursing, mental health facilities, hospices, pharmacies, out-of-hours healthcare services or social care. They hope that this will serve local population needs, with integrated care close to patients’ homes.

What will primary care homes mean for GPs?

But what will this new model mean for GPs? Effectively, it is a new approach to an ongoing problem – the over-stretching of healthcare services. GPs have higher workloads than ever, fewer resources and reduced funding, so now more than ever it is essential for community healthcare services to work together to make the most of what they have. As multimorbidity cases are also on the rise, the NAPC believe this will give all-round relief to GP services.

So far, the results have shown a positive impact on GPs. According to the report, in trials thus far:

“Participating in the primary care home programme has strengthened inter-professional working between GPs and other health professionals, and stimulated new services and ways of working tailored to the needs of different patient groups – for example, through targeting frail patients at risk of hospital admission.”

The NAPC will also be extending opportunities for healthcare professionals in specialism and training. They are supporting the new model by offering the Diploma in Advanced Primary Care Management, which is run in conjunction with the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and Capsticks.

This qualification has been created with the new primary care model in mind, and is designed to equip managers with the financial, legal, business and leadership skills to effectively run larger scale services within the new primary health care environment.

Anyone aspiring to become a manager to support this changing model is able to apply for this qualification and progress their healthcare career, with practical and online learning to be completed alongside work. It also provides the groundworks for a HFMA Higher Diploma or an MBA for students who wish to continue their studies.

The NAPC president, Dr James Kingsland says that the vision of the model is to “bring all the primary care contractor services together within a primary care home to come up with innovative solutions to the current challenges facing the NHS.”

Of course, in ensuring this success, the involvement of out-of-hours healthcare practitioners will be essential. These vital GPs, nurses, community nurses and pharmacists will be perfectly placed to fill in the gaps to create a truly integrated system, no matter how stretched core teams are.

To find out about the rewarding and flexible path that out-of-hours healthcare jobs provide, contact us today on 03000 243 333.