The majority (83%) of primary care staff who took part in a professional development programme said it had improved their job satisfaction and emotional wellbeing, according to an evaluation of the pilot.
The CARE programme, run by the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC), is designed to empower general practice nurses and other primary care professionals to play a key role in their primary care network, strengthen leadership, and shape services based on population health needs.
The evaluation also found that 75% of participants felt that the likelihood of them continuing to work in primary care was ‘significantly higher’ after taking part in the programme.
Primary care staff from Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) ICS took part in the pilot programme, which was delivered via webinars, digital tools and community supports.
Following the programme, all of the participants (100%) said they felt better able to improve the health of their local population, while 80% felt they had developed their leadership skills.
Participants also said they felt their ability to put ideas into practice and influence others had improved, with three-quarters (75%) reporting that they feel their voice is being heard across the system.
Those involved were supported to lead projects that test new ideas and build a case for change, while also learning to use data to develop creative ‘population health-focused ways of working’, the NAPC said.
One of the projects involved targeted and holistic health and wellbeing support to 35 vulnerable patients, after data analysis showed that 73% had a significant unmet need.
The NAPC said that identifying and providing better support to these patients via this project is expected to result in a reduction in GP and A&E demand.
The evaluation also found that participants have been sharing their new knowledge and skills, which the NAPC said has helped to extend the positive impact of the programme to other professionals.
The CARE programme will be extended to six other regions across the country over the next few months, and is ‘being co-designed with each region to ensure support is locally relevant’, the NAPC said.
Dr Johnny Marshall, NAPC president, said: ‘CARE has supported the BLMK participants to be at the forefront of service design and to tap into their intrinsic person-centered approach to improve population health outcomes. They have powered-up innovation where it was needed the most, developed relationships and influenced positive change in others across the ICS. The evaluation shows that CARE offers health systems a potentially high return on investment.’
Janet Thorney, strategic lead for general practice nursing at BLMK ICS, added: ‘CARE has been pivotal in helping our nurses and primary care professionals develop multi professional relationships across the system, drive a population health approach and influence at all levels.
‘The programme has given participants the tools to identify the needs as they are right now, and actively engage with colleagues across the system to address these from the ground up. The projects we are seeing emerge from CARE are exciting and the kind of innovation that improves lives.’