Primary care services are key to preventing serious illness, and are ‘renowned for their ability to innovate,’ Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said, as part of his remarks at the National Association of Primary Care conference.
During his remarks, Mr Hancock stated that the government is aiming to increase the number of clinical staff working in primary care by 5000 by 2020 to 2021, and that they and have recruited more than 3000 since 2015.
Referring to primary care innovation, he said: ‘I support this innovation. This should include practice structure too. Why shouldn’t primary care practices be able to set themselves up as John Lewis Partnership style mutuals?’
‘We need to embrace this diversity of approach because while we may work in different ways, we have to think of primary care as a whole. And we need to think of it as an integrated and integral part of the health system as a whole.’
Mr Hancock also cited the example of the Buurtzorg model adopted in the Netherlands as a way primary care nurses can contribute to good health.
He said: ‘Under this Dutch model, nurses work in small self-governing teams to provide a range of care and support. They lead the assessment, planning and co-ordination of patient care. And, they’re trained to have a flexible skill set, which allows them to deliver a range of treatments including wound care, diabetes monitoring, IV infusion and end-of-life care – and also to navigate the system. The nurses effectively self-manage. This enables them to gain managerial experience while delivering clinical care. People have talked for years about wrap-around care. With Buurtzorg that is happening.’
Mr Hancock also spoke broadly about his three focuses as health secretary: prevention, technology and supporting the workforce, saying primary care had a powerful role to play in all of these. He said: The future of the NHS rests on getting primary care right, and on shifting our focus so that we keep people out of secondary care. We must shift our focus to keeping people out of hospital.’