Primary Care

Primary care is generally the first point of contact for the healthcare system, acting as the ‘front door’ for the NHS. Primary care includes general practice, community pharmacy, dental and optometry (eye health) services.

A sample of what people told us

"Ensure that GP has appropriate information and links to refer people on to support. e.g. Mental Health support / weight management"
"Better access outside of the 9-5 hours Mon-Fri is definitely needed urgently"
"Better IT so that referrals to other services can be dealt with quickly instead of relying on the post"
"More communication to the public about when to seek which service(GP / Pharmacy / A&E)"
"Our GP offers telephone appointments. Excellent!"
"Better integrated working and communication with other health professionals and voluntary sector organisations"
"Need to improve self-help and self-management as a step before GP access. This would reduce pressure on surgeries"
"We need to ensure that we are not fragmenting patient care too much"
"Anecdotally appointments seem to be one of the priorities, so anything you can do to educate the general public away from always wanting to see a GP would be ideal, Advanced Nurse Practitioners"
"Generally it is very good. The GPs locally seem to offer an excellent service in difficult circumstances. They need more support to deliver more services nincluding more doctors and more money"

What we know

  • Patients want access to flexible services and same day appointments when it’s urgent
  • We spoke to over 600 members of the public and found the majority of people find it difficult to book an appointment and 76% would consider booking an appointment online

What we are trying to achieve

Increase opportunities for and encourage practices to work together to deliver improved services, improve access to general practice services and ensure general practice is strong enough and supported enough to continue providing services long into the future.

Our priorities

  • Improve access to primary care to meet the needs of patients, including population growth and new housing developments and making use of new technology such as online consultations and two-way text messaging
  • Actively encourage every practice to be part of a local primary care network and work together more collaboratively, expand and support their workforce and offer appointments with other health professionals, such as clinical pharmacists
  • Supporting practices with their workload, using the national GP Five Year Forward View and High Impact Actions, sharing best practices to enable practices to deliver

What we have done so far

Latest news 

Following an extensive survey on how people accessed primary care services we have improved our extended access to primary care, offering appointments in the evening and weekends for people. You can find out more about GP Extended Access here.

We talked to people who were homeless and people who were currently seeking asylum about their primary care services they told us that they wanted services that listened to them, and treated them with dignity and respect. When putting together the procurement criteria for services for these groups of people we ensured that what people had told us informed the questions we asked potential bidders to ensure the service was one that understood the needs of these vulnerable groups. Find out more about our work with people who are homeless and people who are seeking asylum here

When we took responsibility for the Brownsover Medical Centre development programme we took a very proactive approach to involving patients in the commissioning process. Using NHS England’s ‘Framework for patient and public participation in primary care commissioning’ and NHS England, NHS Wessex and Healthwatch’s ‘Involving people in NHS England’s procurement processes: An advice note for Commissioners’; the CCG set out a clear engagement strategy that put local people at the heart of the process to provide GP services at the practice once it opens in early 2019. Find out more about Brownsover Medical Practice here. 

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