From 1 April 2021, all five Clinical Commissioning Groups will take control of the planning, strategic direction, priority setting and decision making for GP services. This is a first step towards strengthening local decision making under plans to create an Integrated Care Systems (ICS) which will manage services on behalf of local people.
In line with both the national and local NHS strategies, GP services will play a key role in improving the health and wellbeing of the local population.
The COVID-19 vaccination programme has demonstrated how GP practices working together in “Primary Care Networks” (PCNs) can benefit their communities while continuing to offer a core service to their patients.
With greater control over local priorities, the new integrated care system will be able to accelerate plans for Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to act together in further improvements through collaborative working amongst front-line staff.
Dr Arv Guniyangodage, PCN Clinical Director for Brentwood welcoming these changes said “Ensuring local decisions can be taken about the provision of primary care services is vital for the effectiveness of services we can offer our population. The delegation of primary care empowers this local decision making. We will be able to make decisions that are informed by our understanding of our population, the feedback local people are providing and in the context of the strategic aims of our wider partners. This is a real opportunity for improving outcomes for those we serve.”
Anthony McKeever, Executive Lead Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership and Joint Accountable Officer for its five CCGs said: “What matters is that local people have access to efficient and effective primary care when they need it. But family medicine is also about prevention - supporting people to stay healthy and independent wherever possible. Having more control over primary care commissioning will help accelerate our plans to improve the way health and care is delivered across mid and south Essex. People have told us they want better joined up services. Local Primary Care Networks will play a vital role in better integrated working and improving population health and wellbeing, so as to make local services more responsive and sustainable. PCNs will become a cornerstone around which local places can thrive and the key vehicle for delivering local services.”
The benefits of commissioning GP services locally include:
- proactively working with individual practices to develop resilience and sustainability
- having more control, flexibility and influence over how GP Services are developed
- driving up quality of GP Services, and improve access to primary medical services
- developing the foundations for a more sustainable and stable general practice
- greater scope for improved system-wide financial management