Primary Care Networks
Demand for health and care services is increasing as the population ages. At the heart of our plans to make primary care services stronger, general practices are planning and delivering care together in partnership with other health and care services to support their populations by providing high-quality care.
We call these partnerships primary care networks and we have 41 covering the whole patient population across Lancashire and South Cumbria. Each primary care network is made up of populations between 30,000 and 50,000.
It is still very early days, but each network is starting to agree on their own health priorities based on what local people need. Longer term, they will be able to work together to recruit more staff such as pharmacists and physiotherapists and offer a broader range of services to patients across groups of practices.
This will lead to better services for patients, including:
- Longer GP consultations – up to 20 minutes – where patients need them
- Same-day appointments with the right health professional to meet patients’ needs – this may be a GP, but could also be a nurse, pharmacist, paramedic or physician associate
- Patients being referred directly into other services including dental, pharmacy, eye health and community or voluntary services by their practice
- Greater access to telephone, online or video consultations with a health professional and opportunities to take part in group consultations
- Online access to health advice and information via websites and apps to help patients manage their own health
- Technology to help people live independently at home for as long as possible
- The opportunity for patients to be more involved in their own care and have a greater say in local health services and how these are delivered.
Case study - Healthier Fleetwood
Fleetwood is home to Healthier Fleetwood which was named as the National Association of Primary Care, Primary Care Network of the year in 2018.
Over the past four years, the three GP practices in Fleetwood have been developing integrated care across the town in conjunction with other service providers such as community pharmacy, the local dental practice, community nursing, Lancashire Care Foundation Trust (providing specialist mental health services), Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Inspire - the local drug and alcohol service provider.
Together they are addressing the health needs of the town such as mental health issues, long term medical conditions such as Chronic Respiratory Disease (COPD) and also focussing on the health of the town’s children.
Through Healthier Fleetwood, there is also a significant focus on empowering residents and promoting wellness, along with a wide range of social prescribing initiatives. This has not only led to a very positive health impact for numerous residents, but also to improving the recruitment of new GPs and nurses to the town and significantly reducing the number of A&E attendances and emergency hospital admissions needed by Fleetwood residents.
Watch the video below to hear first-hand perspectives from some of those involved.
Find out more about Healthier Fleetwood by visiting their website.