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Single practice PCN reduced hospital bed days by 12,480

by Jess Hacker
24 May 2023

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A single practice PCN in Sussex geared around keeping patients out of hospital has reduced non-elective bed days by 12,480 days.

Foundry PCN’s model is also estimated to have prevented 751 A&E visits, 170 ambulance conveyances and 720 locum GP sessions, according to an evaluation commissioned by Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network (KSS AHSN) and carried out by Unity Insights.

Every £1 of PCN funding invested in the interventions adopted by the Foundry is estimated to offer a return of £1.50 to the healthcare system, it found.

Dr Phil Wallek, clinical director at Foundry PCN in Lewes, said: ‘The whole Foundry Team take great pride in how our hard work has helped improve care for the patients of Lewes. It’s fantastic to see evidence that working collaboratively in Primary Care can achieve benefits for patients, staff and the wider health economy. A new culture of continuous improvement at the Foundry means this is just the beginning.’

Launched in 2019, the model sees clinicians code patients’ needs and assess the benefit of continuity of care with a traffic light system: green meaning generally well, amber meaning they have long-term conditions and red indicating they are vulnerable or have complex needs.

Amber and red patients are then registered with a usual GP and are grouped into micro continuing care multidisciplinary teams to help maintain continuity, staffed by nurses, GPs, care coordinators, pharmacists and social prescribers. 

The evaluation, which was published last week, found that patients of the single practice PCN reported higher satisfaction compared to Sussex ICS patients across a range of aspects of their care. This includes being involved in decision-making about their care and feeling that their healthcare team gave them enough time at appointments.

PCN staff also reported higher satisfaction with the culture and leadership at the Foundry compared to average ICS and national results. Staff recognised the benefits of collaborative working in particular.

However, staff also felt that patients did not realise the full impact of the interventions nor their efforts: 90% of patients interviewed did not know which GP or healthcare team they were assigned to, suggesting a breakdown of communication between the Foundry and its patients.

The evaluation also concluded that while similar benefits and outcomes can be expected from other PCNs adopting the model, success is highly likely to be influenced by social-demographic patterns, population morbidity, practice list size and proximity to a GP practice.

This story was previously published by our sister publication Pulse PCN.