A new report has highlighted prime examples of integration between GPs and physicians, in a bid to spread learning.
Patient care: A unified approach, published by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) and Royal College of Physicians, provides nine case studies where GPs and physicians have worked closely to produce new and integrated services.
For example a clinic for patients with respiratory problems at The North Bristol NHS Trust Lung Centre, at Southmead Hospital, which enables GPs and community matrons to refer patients the same day. A dedicated mobile phone also put GPs in easy contact with consultants. The scheme reduced referrals to hospital and enabled patients to be treated closer to home.
In Sunderland, a GP with a special interest in dermatology and a consultant dermatologist work together with specialist nurses and other staff, to provide routine care to patients suffering from non-urgent conditions. The project resulted in lower waiting times, and 100% of patients would recommend the service to others.
The report emphasised that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to integration, since it will vary depending on the patient population.
However, improved communication and the establishment of an ongoing dialogue between GPs and physicians is vital, alongside a workforce that feels empowered to make change.
There must be an educational environment that encourages innovation, and a supportive external environment, “including commissioning and funding fit for purpose, and information and technology systems that support primary and secondary care working together”.
See the full report here.