The CSP has submitted evidence to the ongoing House of Lords Special Inquiry Committee on the integration of primary and community care.
The inquiry is considering the challenge of adapting existing healthcare structures and better integration of services within the wider health and care system.
Specifically, it’s exploring improved ways to integrate the delivery of effective primary and community care services, the challenges facing the community sector and any barriers facing integration with primary care.
Rachel Newton, CSP head of policy, said: ‘The Lords committee’s decision to focus on the community sector within ambitions to integrate all out of hospital care is welcome and timely.
The demands on GP services and primary care should not eclipse the need to expand and develop community services
'While an important partner, this cannot be driven by Primary Care Networks on their own.
Workforce issues must be prioritised
The evidence submitted by the CSP focussed on several key issues. These included highlighting:
- Why understaffing in the community sector must be a nation and system level priority. Exploring the consequences of continued failure to address this on patients, the additional demand it creates on the most expensive parts of the health care system, and the shrinking pool of staff from which to recruit to FCP roles in primary care and Advanced Clinical Practice roles.
- The risk that the anticipated workforce plan from the UK government will set national targets for primary care and not for community services. The CSP has voiced concerns that this will result in continued neglect of community service staffing, at the expense of both primary and community provision.
- The value of FCP roles in primary care in improving patient outcomes and cutting unnecessary secondary care referrals and prescribing and showcasing an FCP service in Gloucestershire. CSP evidence also points to the yet under-utilised potential for FCP roles to support a more integrated MSK pathway if they are set up in partnership between primary and community and increased in number in tandem with community MSK services.
- The need for more AHPs in leadership roles within Integrated Care Systems to drive improvements to patient care through integration and building active partnerships with Primary Care Networks. The CSPs evidence provides two examples of CSP members, Hilary Hall and Karen Poole within Dorset and Sussex who are demonstrating the value of this.
Knock-on benefits for other services
Our evidence also includes testimony from a key partner of the CSP, the College of Paramedics, which describes the knock-on impact of effective, high-quality community rehabilitation services on work of their members.
Tracy Nicholls, chief executive of the College of Paramedics said:
The multidisciplinary nature of community rehabilitation with the significant contribution of physiotherapists is an integral way to reduce the demand on the ambulance sector and provide patients with more tailored and appropriate care whilst remaining safely in the community, leaving paramedics within the ambulance sector to support patients if they require life-saving treatment or require emergency care support
As part of its role in the Community Rehabilitation Alliance, the CSP is also encouraging other organisations to submit their own evidence to the inquiry, to ensure that a full range of professions and a range of expertise are able to feed into this important work.
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