Collaborative working brings benefits for general practice, says new RCGP document
May 18 2016
Case studies demonstrating benefits for GPs working alongside secondary care physicians and with professionals from across the health and social care system have been published.
The RCGP document, ‘The Future of GP Collaborative Working’, looks at how GPs have taken the initiative and are working in an integrated fashion. It gives examples of how GPs can use available opportunities and work within the existing frameworks “to create a service that responds flexibly to patients’ changing needs.”
Seven case studies are featured in the report:
- Guys and St Thomas’ @home service which found that actively directing people towards care that can be provided within their own home frees up bed days from secondary care, while reducing the need for repeat GP appointments by treating the patient in a proactive fashion.
- Connecting Care for Children at St Mary’s Hospital, within Imperial College Healthcare London, has paediatricians employed within the hospital working proactively with local GPs to deliver paediatric care within a primary care setting.
- Brighton and Hove Memory Assessment Service is a dedicated dementia service built around a multidisciplinary team whose function is to diagnose and treat patients with dementia within a primary care and home setting.
- Old School Surgery, Bristol, has employed a prescribing pharmacist as a partner within the GP surgery, leaving more time free for GPs to undertake proactive care, and decreasing duplication of services
- Thornbrook Surgery, Derbyshire, has found that employing a mental health practitioner within its surgery, one day a week, has resulted in fewer referrals to mental health secondary care services compared to other nearby GP surgeries.
- The Livingston Experiment in West Lothian involved GPs working with paediatricians, hospital consultants, physicians, nursing, and social care staff and has enabled the transfer of knowledge between primary and secondary care.
- a GP with a Special Interest (GPwSI) in Paediatrics in the Child Health Clinic in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, has led to improved auditing and patient feedback mechanisms.
Announcing the report, RCGP Chair Dr Maureen Baker said: “One of the greatest challenges facing the NHS is how to respond to the ever-changing and increasingly complex needs of our patients. This report outlines a number of exciting examples where College members are shaping the future of general practice, and the wider health service, in order to deliver patient-centred care.
“Our patients’ health outcomes are best when we treat them as people, not diseases, and this holistic approach can only be achieved when doctors from across the health service work together – but we need to do this more, and better.”
Dr Baker said that there is no single approach to achieving this, but “structural reorganisation can be a positive way forward for practices with sufficient resources.” In addition, “new models of multidisciplinary working also have a vital role to play in providing patients with new and more integrated services closer to home.”
The recent GP Forward View from NHS England has offered funding to redesign care as well as invest in the general practice workforce, she said. “We will be working with NHS England and others to ensure that good ideas like those highlighted in our report today are adopted more widely, where appropriate, as we implement the GP Forward View.”