Cover: New organisational models of primary care to meet the future needs of the NHS

New organisational models of primary care to meet the future needs of the NHS

A brief overview of recent reports

Published Jul 21, 2015

by Teresa Bienkowska-Gibbs, Sarah King, Catherine L. Saunders, Marie-Louise Henham

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The NHS in England faces several future challenges for primary care, including an ageing population, increasing numbers of patients with multiple long-term conditions and a limited workforce. The Health Education England Primary Care Workforce Commission has set out to identify innovative models of primary care that will meet these future challenges. As part of this work, RAND Europe was commissioned to present a brief overview of reports from professional bodies and policy-focused organisations — from England and internationally — that describe new models for delivering primary care. These models include:

  • Models that introduce new roles, or change existing roles, in general practice (e.g. introducing physician associates and pharmacists into general practice, extending roles for allied health professionals and primary care nurses);
  • Models of collaboration among professionals and among the primary care, secondary care and social care sectors (e.g. 'micro-teams', GPs and specialists working together and/or specialists working in the community, extended roles for community pharmacists); and
  • New organisational forms for general practice (e.g. primary care federations or networks, super-practices, regional multipractice organisations, community health organisations, polyclinics and multispecialty community providers).

In addition, we present some examples of communication/information technology used in primary care and discuss recruitment and retention challenges facing health professionals in general practice. Most reports included in this overview are descriptive, and they include recommendations regarding how new models of care could be implemented. From these reports, it was evident that there is no 'one size fits all' model for delivering primary care and that the way in which new models are implemented may be as important as the models themselves.

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The research described in this report was prepared for Health Education England Primary Care Workforce Commission and conducted by RAND Europe.

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