Primary Care Networks

Primary and Community Care Transformation across Wiltshire

We have known for some time that the health needs of our population are changing. This is putting pressure on our health and social care system across Wiltshire and England as a whole.

Due to advances in technology, treatments and greater awareness of lifestyle choices we are living for longer but often with multiple chronic conditions. By 2027 there will be 2 million more people in England aged over 75 than there was in 2017. The way healthcare is delivered has also changed, moving from treating illness to a focus on health prevention and management of long-term conditions, enabling people to live full and productive lives with minimal impact from their chronic disease. Our expectations as patients have also changed, with the expansion of new treatments giving rise to increased demands for a range of services.

However, the health and care system has not evolved fast enough to meet these needs. Service provision is fragmented across too many different types of organisation, which often do not communicate effectively with each other. A holistic person-centred approach to patient care is often lacking, with the totality of your needs not understood by those organisations providing your care.      

Government has announced a number of policies and incentives this year to enable the health and care system to meet these demands and general practice is at the core of these new ideas which will evolve over the next five-years. Significant funding and a new way to deliver more services locally, that are centered around the needs of you, the patient. You will be able to access more services in your community and be able to see a wider range of health and care professionals to help keep you well and out of hospital.

The model to do this is through primary care networks. Each network will serve patient populations in the region of 30,000-50,000. The aim of a primary care network is to improve outcomes for patients through closer working between those organisations who provide health and care services in your area, which means a greater range of services available to you locally.

You will have access to a wider range of health and care professionals, as part of community teams. This includes GPs, nurses, physios, therapists, pharmacists and social care providers – each providing care that is tailored to your needs, is coordinated and accessible in your community.

GPs will be able to provide care that meets your health and care needs, focusing more on supporting those patients with complex conditions and, with the support of their teams, help you to prevent ill health. This should bring a greater balance to their workload and free up time to spend with those patients who need it the most.

Patients across Wiltshire and throughout England, will also be able to get faster expert advice about their prescriptions and other treatments because clinical pharmacists will become part of core practice teams. Up to 10% of hospital admissions in the elderly population are medicines-related and research shows that as many as 50% of patients do not take their medicines as intended.


Eleven Primary Care Networks in Wiltshire

There has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes to form the GP networks and get structures in place for the Primary Care Networks. They launched across the country on 1 July 2019.

It will take some time for the networks to become fully operational and for patients to start seeing the benefits of this collaborative provision of services.

Clinical directors have been appointed for all 11 networks in Wiltshire with some networks choosing to make this a shared role.