The NHS Alliance has called for GPs to view working with voluntary groups in the community, such as residents’ groups and local health charities, as an essential part of their role.
The NHS Alliance’s manifesto, released at the Healthcare Innovation Expo 2013, called on GPs to work with local people on housing estates to develop social prescribing initiatives.
It also called on the NHS Commissioning Board to offer each patient the opportunity to create a personal health and wellbeing plan, hold some consultants’ contracts to enable them to take ‘community-wide responsibility for groups of patients and to become an expert resource for primary care clinicians’, and undertake a review of the current financial systems in which general practice is paid per head of population but hospitals are paid for activity.
The manifesto said: ‘We need new partnerships between primary care and communities to shape the healthcare and services we deliver. We need, for example, to see frontline healthcare professionals and councillors working with local people on housing estates to identify and address their concerns and to develop social prescribing initiatives.’
It also recommended that ‘community health workers and community advisors should become new members of the practice team linking practice services with voluntary agencies and the local community, improving overall local health and providing a focus for families who make the greatest demand on the NHS’.
Dr Brian Fisher, NHS Alliance public and patient involvement lead, said: ‘Practices would see linking with voluntary groups in their patch to be just as important as keeping up with their colleagues in the clinical commissioning group or reading the BMJ.
‘They would offer support to the residents’ group on their estate in their fight against damp. They would be in regular touch with the diabetes group and the COPD group and the MIND group – listening to their ideas for improving services and discussing with them ways in which patients could be encouraged and supported to follow best practice in treatment.
‘Practices would see these as efficient ways of supporting self-care, as well as places where feedback on services could be received and discussed.’
NHS Alliance’s main recommendations
- offering each patient the opportunity to create a personal health and wellbeing plan;
- agreeing that consultants contracts in certain specialties should be held by the NHS Commissioning Board or local Clinical Commissioning Groups, enabling these valuable specialists to take a community-wide responsibility for groups of patients and to become an expert resource for primary care clinicians;
- undertaking a review of the current financial systems in which general practice is paid per head of population but hospitals are paid for activity;
- allowing data to be shared across boundaries in different services and settings, making sure that patients are involved and feel safe and secure;
- advocating that primary care should take a new role in orchestrating community movements that improve health and wellbeing.
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