At the end of June, National Voices launched a new report, signed and endorsed by over 50 health and care charities, which sets out a vision for the future of primary care.
National Voices believe that, if acted upon, the nine key reforms to primary care set out within the report would make a significant difference for people living with health conditions and disability, especially those from groups who experience inequalities.
The vision is launched at a moment when public satisfaction with GP services and dentistry are both at an all time low – at 35% and 27% respectively.
The report also acknowledges the significant pressures primary care staff are under and highlights the importance of adequate funding and an expansion of the primary care workforce in response to the level of need within the public.
The proposals within the report are a mixture of short-term changes which would make a difference here and now, as well as ambitious longer-term proposals which would take time to implement. These include calls to:
- Revamp access and triage, putting choice, personalisation and equity at the centre.
- Modernise and revamp communications, putting choice, personalisation and equity at the heart.
- Make support for people with multiple long term conditions more joined up within primary care.
- Develop clearer standardised processes for diagnosis of health conditions.
- Make it easier for people to book longer appointments in General Practice.
- Better equip primary care professionals to meet people’s needs in holistic ways.
- Tackle the inverse care law for GPs and dentists in areas of socioeconomic inequality.
- Bring an end to wrongfully refused registrations in GPs and dentists.
- Work in partnership with people, communities and voluntary sector organisations for everyone’s benefit.
The proposals were developed by analysing insights from National Voices’ members and testing these through a series of roundtables convening key stakeholders within primary care and people with lived experience of health conditions and disability.
They were launched at National Voices’ annual conference, which this year focused on the future of primary care. The conference also marked the launch of two other National Voices led projects and reports. These are:
- A shift to multidisciplinary teams in general practice: What this means for people experiencing health inequalities and frequent users of primary care services
- Accessible and inclusive communication within primary care: What matters to people with diverse communication needs
Jacob Lant, Chief Executive of National Voices says:
“With public satisfaction in GP services falling and the unprecedented pressures on the primary care workforce as a whole, the ‘front door of the NHS’ faces perhaps its biggest ever challenge.
“Over the last six months we have been working with our 200 member charities, our lived experience partners and key stakeholders across primary care to create a new vision for the sector that can help political leaders and decision makers put people who use services at the heart of designing the future of primary care.
“Work on this vision has already helped to shape last month’s primary care recovery plan, and our nine proposals outline how we can go further to make a significant difference to everyone who accesses primary care services, but in particular people living with mental and physical health conditions and disability, and people experiencing health inequalities”
“I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to this work, in particular our funders who made it possible to bring all these voices together, and we look forward to continuing our work with friends in primary care to turn this vision into a reality.”
AstraZeneca has provided a sponsorship grant towards our independent programme of work on the future of primary care.
We are grateful to the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and the UK Health Security Agency, who have provided two grants through the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance for our independent work on inclusive communications in primary care and our work on multi-disciplinary teams in primary care.