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The future of primary care: Creating teams for tomorrow. Roland Report

Published: 28 July, 2015

“ With its highly skilled workforce, effective multi-disciplinary teams and well-developed IT systems, the NHS is in an unparalleled position to develop a modern primary care system that is truly world class.”

The HEE Primary Care Workforce Commission, chaired by Martin Roland CBE, has published a report: The future of primary care: Creating teams for tomorrow.

The Commission took a broad based approach to consultation, encompassing a literature review, call for evidence, site visits and panel meetings. It has identified and highlighted innovative models of primary care that will meet the future needs of patients and the NHS.

As well as stressing the importance of the need for better data to underpin innovation, the Commission makes 36  recommendations around these themes:

  • A multi-disciplinary workforce for primary care
  • Making better use of technology
  • Federations and networks of practices
  • Integrating care
  • Quality and safety in primary care
  • Population groups with particular needs
  • Education and training: creating learning organisations

Creating teams for tomorrow
The Commission has set out its vision of primary care for the future:

Primary care will have at its heart active collaboration between healthcare professionals and the people they care for. This patient-focused approach will require collaboration between professionals and strong team working, both within and across organisational boundaries.

Primary care practices will include a wider range of disciplines. As well as GPs, nurses and   administrative support, primary care teams may include healthcare assistants, physician associates, paramedics, allied health professionals, social workers and others. Pharmacists will increasingly become a core part of the general practice team.

It will be normal for general practices to work together, for example, as parts of federations or networks of GP practices, giving smaller practices access to an extended primary care team. Community pharmacies will also form networks that may sometimes join with general practice networks.

Given the complexity of people’s needs and the need for time to fully engage people in managing their care, many face-to-face consultations will be longer. Primary and community care staff will make greater use of technology to increase access and support for patients. They may communicate by phone, by video-conference Our vision of primary care for the future and by email, and practices will provide web-based support to help patients manage their own conditions.  Staff will be able to guide patients to a wider range of resources from lay and voluntary organisations.

Community nurses and health visitors will work much more closely with general practices and will share electronic records with them. In many cases, contracts for community nursing services will be held by federations of GP practices to improve integration of care.

Hospital doctors and nurses will increasingly work with others in community settings, for example, in care of the elderly. While hospital-based specialists may run clinics and see patients in the community, a major role will be to support clinicians in primary care.

Support staff will deal with much of the administrative work currently done by doctors and nurses (such as dealing with most email and electronic tasks), freeing them up for clinical work.

High-quality education will be available to all staff working in primary care to give them access to continuing professional development, to enable them to develop advanced skills, and to provide them with the leadership and management skills to run new primary care organisations such as federations of GP practices.

Sue Lacey Bryant
Primary Care Workforce Development Tutor

Reference: The future of primary care: Creating teams for tomorrow,  HEE Primary Care Workforce Commission, July 2015.

All submitted evidence is available to download here including the literature overview from RAND Europe.

Last updated: 21 May, 2018

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