Feature

Home run for integrated primary care?

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2922 (Published 26 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2922
  1. Adrian O’Dowd, freelance journalist, Margate, UK
  1. adrianodowd{at}hotmail.com

The battle to remove barriers for patients needing quick, easy access to different types of care is being waged in primary care, where new pilots are trying to crack the problem of truly integrated care, writes Adrian O’Dowd

Over the past few months, community workers, social care teams, and volunteers in the small Nottinghamshire town of Worksop have all started working under the same roof as general practitioners. Community workers have been given permanent space inside a general practice and arrangements are in place for social workers and volunteers to work there regularly.

The practice’s phone and wi-fi system has been upgraded to help these normally segregated services start to working together as a team with a single shared budget. This team is now building a closer working relationship with local mental health services—it is hoped that mental health staff will also eventually work under the same roof—nursing homes, and hospitals.

“There is a huge amount we can do simply by improving communication and working together for patients,” says Steve Kell, a local GP who is leading the push for truly integrated care in the Larwood and Bawtry area, which includes Worksop. “I think it’s making a real difference.”

Kell, a former chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners, the organisation that represents commissioning groups nationally, says the new approach is all about healthcare providers working more closely with those who commission it.

“Our three aims are to improve patient outcomes through more coordinated work, to improve staff wellbeing by making practices a better place to work and having a team based approach, and to create efficiencies for providers and commissioners,” …

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