Collaborative General Practice Across the Four Nations

Collaborative General Practice in England

Primary care networks (PCNs) form a key building block of the NHS long-term plan. From 1 July 2019, all patients in England will be covered by a primary care network (PCN) – the most significant reform to general practice in England in a generation.  Bringing general practices together to work at scale has been a policy priority for some years for a range of reasons, including improving the ability of practices to recruit and retain staff; to manage financial and estates pressures; to provide a wider range of services to patients and to more easily integrate with the wider health and care system. PCNs should help to integrate primary care with secondary and community services and bridge a gap between general practice and emerging Integrated Care Systems.

Read more about collaborative general practice in England. 

Collaborative General Practice in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, GP Federations have been established as not-for-profit Community Interest Companies Limited by Guarantee since June 2016. The creation of the Federation model was created and initially funded by GPs themselves and there are 17 Federations covering the entire region, with all practices aligned with a Federation. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that has a unified model of Federations governed by a unified Members Agreement covering the entire population . 

Through this structure, practices are working collaboratively in numerous ways including recruitment for multidisciplinary team posts, practice-based learning days and other direct support. Following the allocation of funding in 2018, Federations play a key role in the development and rollout of a new model of multidisciplinary team working, embedded in general practice. Working with the local Health & Social Care Trust in the area, the Down and Derry GP Federations are currently prototyping a new model which sees the direct employment of mental health workers, physiotherapists and social workers through Federations, with posts based in GP practices in the area. This model is now being further rolled out in West Belfast and two additional Federation areas, yet to be confirmed. 

Additional links: 

  • GP Federations: Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency - NIMDTA
    To provide the best possible healthcare for the people we serve, it is essential that GP Federations attract and retain staff who are appropriately qualified, professional in the service they deliver, happy and productive in their work and committed to lifelong learning and developing in their role.
  • GP Federation Support Unit
    There are 17 federations encompassing the whole of the Northern Ireland region. Each of the 17 federations will cover about 100,000 patients with, on average, 20 practices. The federations are all Community Interest Companies in the Not for Profit Sector. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK which has a unified model of Federations governed by a unified Members Agreement covering its entire population.

Collaborative General Practice in Scotland

After the publication of 'Improving Together: A National Framework for Quality and GP Clusters in Scotland', in 2017, general practice in Scotland has been encouraged to work collaboratively. Practices are now working collaboratively through Quality Clusters to deliver improved care. Alongside the practice collaboration the new GP Contract in Scotland will expand the multi-disciplinary team with the aim of improving the quality of care provision.

In Scotland we support the development of these organisations through our Local Advocates network. In mid-2019, national guidance on GP Clusters in Scotland, developed jointly by RCGP Scotland, the Scottish General Practitioners Committee of the BMA (SGPC), Scottish Government, Scottish Primary Care Clinical Leads and Healthcare Improvement Scotland here, was published here.

Collaborative General Practice in Wales

After the publication of Setting the Direction: Primary & Community Services Strategic Development Programme in 2010, general practice has been encouraged to work collaboratively. Practices are now working collaboratively through Primary Care Clusters to deliver improved care. Alongside the practice collaboration the clinical team is expanding with multi-professional teams collaborating to improve the quality of care provision.

In Wales we support the development of these organisations through our Advocates network. RCGP Wales is currently working with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to produce a best practice guide for multi-disciplinary team working and is an active partner in the work of the Bevan Commission to identify best practice in future delivery of prudent healthcare.

 

 

 

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