The NHS 10-year plan should focus on prevention and helping primary care to deliver it, the primary care workstream lead for the long-term plan has said.
Speaking at The King’s Fund Priorities for the 10-year plan event today, GP and Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS lead Amanda Doyle said that primary care is the ‘delivery arm’ of prevention.
She said that although the Five Year Forward View (FYFV) ‘majored’ on prevention, it was difficult to deliver on it because of the funding needed in the acute sector.
The FYFV, recently criticised by new NHS England chair Lord Prior for being more ‘a view than a plan’, was first launched in 2014 to set a new vision for the NHS and had prevention as one of its central themes.
Now that more money has been made available, Dr Doyle said that ‘we are going to be able to invest upfront in prevention’, which needs to be a priority in the long-term plan.
This means helping general practice, which is where most of the work on prevention happens, in conjunction with local authorities and the community itself, she said.
The BMA is also calling for public health prevention to be at the centre of future NHS planning, after publishing a report today in which they found that demand on health services could be cut by 40% if the right investment is given to smoking cessation, obesity, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity services.
‘Unsustainable in its current form’
General practice is however ‘unsustainable in its current form’, Dr Doyle argued, because as many GPs lament, the workload is unsustainable.
In the future, ‘we need to continue the real push on developing primary care networks’, she said.
She added: ‘Group of practices working together on a scale which enables them to deliver new models of primary care de-risks some of the things that are frightening people out of general practice.’
Widen the workforce
Workforce is a big issue for every single stream contributing to the development of the long-term plan, according to Dr Doyle.
The traditional model of general practice, which sees a ‘couple of GPs and a practice nurse is not going to enable it to continue to deliver’, said Dr Doyle, who thinks that teams need to be widened to include a range of professional nurse practitioners, physios, paramedics, and pharmacists.