Allied health professionals are key to sustainable general practice, King’s Fund hears

NHS leaders at a King’s Fund event agreed that general practice required teams of healthcare professionals working collaboratively to meet the significant challenges faced by the sector and deliver cost-effective high-quality care in the future.


GP leader Helen Stokes Lampard said the work of AHPs was ‘brilliant’

At the think tank’s conference on Reimagining general practice on 19 June, the chair of the Royal College of GPs, Helen Stokes Lampard, spoke about delivering holistic care in partnership with other healthcare professionals.

‘General practice is the greatest team sport in medicine,’ she said. ‘Never more so than going forward more widely with allied healthcare professionals.

‘Those who don’t like it, I am sorry, but this steam train is coming. It has picked up many people and it will mow you over, if you’re not there already.’

Speaking about her recent visit to general practices in Northern Ireland, she said: ‘They only have practice nurses in their system, haven’t yet adapted and moved with it. They find it quite scary.’

She warned, however, that to deliver general practice in the future, there was no alternative to working with allied health professionals.

‘And these guys do it brilliantly, they do it absolutely brilliantly, so long as we set them the right roles,’ she said.

The event closely followed the publication of the King’s Fund’s report, Innovative models of general practice, earlier in the month.

It says the NHS has made a clear commitment to person-centred care. But for this commitment to become a reality, general practice will need clinical teams with the appropriate skills and informational support.

It also needs the resources and systems in place to enable patients to build long-term relationships with these teams and for consultations to be long enough to support patient-centred care, the report says.

Resources include funding, of course. Dr Stokes Lampard referred to prime minister Theresa May’s announcement of an extra £20 billion a year for the NHS, saying it was extremely welcome. She told delegates that it was not a level of funding that would take the NHS very far forward, but that it would ‘stop the rot’.

‘We do welcome it and we will make sure that general practice and primary care get an appropriate and fair share,’ she said.

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