Draft Strategy aims to transform primary care services

The Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB) has published its draft Primary Care Strategy to transform general practice, community pharmacy, optometry (eye care) and dentistry.

Draft Strategy aims to transform primary care services

The strategy has been developed with the support of health and care partners and local people to meet the challenges facing primary care, including high demand and reduced access to these services, an ageing population requiring more complex care, and workforce pressures around recruitment and retention of staff.

This programme of work is underpinned by the ICB’s Integrated Care Strategy and Five-Year Joint Forward Plan published last year (2023). These set out an ambition to integrate primary care with community services across the ICB and to develop new ways of providing care for patients.

The draft Primary Care Strategy outlines three priorities to help deliver these ambitions:

  1. to improve access so patients get the right support first time to manage their health and wellbeing
  2. to develop proactive and personalised care in the community setting for patients with complex health needs
  3. to prevent ill health by using and sharing data with our partners about the health needs of local communities

To help deliver these priorities we are proposing to develop the following services:

  • Non-complex same day care
  • Integrated Neighbourhood Teams
  • Prevention; with an initial focus on cardiovascular disease

Non-complex same day care

Primary care will better manage patients who require same day support; but whose conditions are not complex. The aim is to improve the patient experience as they get the support they need promptly. This will be achieved by triaging patients more efficiently with an initial contact made with the right health service or professional. This way of working will allow GPs to focus on patients with more complex needs.

Integrated Neighbourhood Teams

GPs will work with multi-disciplinary teams in the community made up of hospital consultants, district and community nurses supported by care navigators, physiotherapists, social care and the voluntary sector to provide personalised, proactive care to patients with more than one health condition, such as frail elderly people.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Prevention

Primary care will work with health and care partners to reduce the risk of patients developing CVD by tackling smoking, obesity and high blood pressure. CVD is one of the most common causes of ongoing ill-health and deaths across the ICB leading to heart attack and strokes. This approach will rely on using and sharing data (Population Health Management) between partners to understand better the health needs of our local communities.

We are asking the public to share their views on the draft Primary Care Strategy via a new online survey – which can be found here: https://yourvoicebob-icb.uk.engagementhq.com/primary-care-strategy which is open until 29 February 2024.

The draft strategy also describes how the ICB will develop other areas of primary care to support its vision including:

  • promote wider use of the NHS app so patients can view their medical records, order repeat prescriptions and manage routine appointments
  • provide more training to pharmacists to allow them to assess patients and make prescribing decisions without the need to involve a GP
  • support the national roll-out of the minor eye conditions service across the ICB
  • explore the use of mobile dental units to manage demand better

Dr Abid Irfan, Director of Primary Care at Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire West ICB said:

“Our draft strategy outlines solutions to tackle the challenges we face in primary care, including increased demand and the need to improve access with limited resources to support us.

“Our vision is to transform primary care across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West by integrating these services and ensure they work more closely with our health and care partners across our communities to provide better patient care.

“To achieve this we have developed three priorities. To improve access to services so patients with non-emergency needs can get same day care. To ensure those with more complex needs get proactive, personalised care from a dedicated team in local communities; and to prevent people from becoming unwell and staying healthier for longer.

“In addition, we will need to make better use of digital tools and premises to allow us to work differently. And we need to have measures in place to recruit and retain a skilled workforce.”

Dr Irfan added: “We thank people for sharing their views and experiences about primary care services since we launched our engagement last November. However, we urge the public to read our draft strategy and take part in a new survey so we know our ambitions to transform primary care have their understanding and support.”

The new survey is open until 29 February 2024. You can find it online at https://yourvoicebob-icb.uk.engagementhq.com/primary-care-strategy or you can request a printed copy from 0300 123 4465 or by email to: engagement.BOBICS@nhs.net

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Published: 17 January 2024