A complete primary care overhaul is needed to make integrated care a reality, clinicians have claimed in a new report from the National Primary Care Network (NPCN).
Collating the opinions of coalface clinicians and healthcare leaders, the report revealed an urge to turn pharmacy into one of the key providers of community care.
Although the report reveals massive differences in opinion between nurses, dentists, commissioners, pharmacists, GPs and optometrists, Future of Primary Care makes plain that all feel a “revolution” is needed.
Dr Howard Stoate, Chair of Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Pharmacy has only one future, and that future is clinical services – things you can’t get online. Unless pharmacists change rapidly, there will be no community pharmacy. Pharmacies will go the way of bookshops.”
Steve Foster, Pharmacy Superintendent at Pierremont Pharmacy said: “Everybody is in agreement that things can’t continue as they are. The £20 billion challenge we had a couple of years ago has grown to £30 billion, and will continue unless we do something about it.”
And Hemant Patel, Secretary of the North-East London Local Pharmaceutical Committee said: “Let’s get real. People will focus their attention where there’s money. We need to incentivise the system so that people’s imaginations begin to work properly.”
The report showcases innovative practice, from pharmacists as partners in general practice to ideas on using contracts to help local providers work towards joint goals.
The NPCN is a group of over 500 healthcare professionals from across primary care. The group meets quarterly to discuss a specific, pre-defined topic.
Afterwards, a report is created which is intended as a record of the discussions.
Dr James Kingsland OBE, Chair of the NPCN said: “This meeting tried, and within this report succeeded in creating some new thinking. The future must be built from within existing best practice on the cornerstone of the NHS – primary care.
“The strength of the network is in the participants, who are not restrained by the usual rhetoric or jargon that compromises so much clinical enthusiasm.”
Cogora, the integrated media and marketing services company behind publications such as Management in Practice and Pulse compiled the report, which is available to view online.