To receive the report.
The Committee received a report and presentation that highlighted the recent work and forward plans of the CCG Primary Care Commissioning Committee. The purpose of this is to encourage individuals and communities to take control of their own health and wellbeing. The primary care workforce aims to achieve this by: -
· Promoting joined up person-centred care,
· Using IT innovations to allow access to healthcare,
· Ensuing that there are stable and viable providers of primary care,
· Improving urgent care services,
· Supporting continuous quality improvement.
Somerset CCG has been in a joint commissioning relationship with NHS England in respect of GP services since 2016. On 1 April 2019 the CCG took full commissioning responsibility for GP services from NHS England. As part of this change, the previous Primary Care Joint Committee has been disbanded and a new Primary Care Commissioning Committee has been created. The priority for this new Commissioning Committee is to use local budgets to the best effect and to deliver national priorities locally. They key challenges to this are the ongoing recruitment of GPs (Somerset has bucked the national trend to some extent) and the reliance on agency staff. Of concern is the Locum Agency are only able to fill 70% of the shifts being requested.
The Committee noted that the resilience and sustainability of some small rural practices is a challenge. Recently a small local practice on Exmoor had to close when a husband and wife GP team both retired. This was a unique set up as the GP surgery was sited in part of their domestic dwelling.
During the discussion the following matters were raised: -
· The availability of patient records at all points in the NHS. The way in which technology has been introduced and developed in Hospitals, GP surgeries and other services has resulted in fractured communication. This is being addressed and is getting better. It was recognised that there is still more work to do to make this fully accessible.
· There have been some different models for the running of GP surgeries being tested. Some are content with the business model and other surgeries have accepted support from the Foundation Trust. The Committee were interested in the workload of GP’s compared to the national position. The number of patients seen by each GP in a day has been increasing and is above that of many other countries in the world. Primary Care is testing out models that use the skills of other Healthcare professionals. The biggest challenge to this is the expectation of patients who like to see their GP when they might not be the most appropriate person. The Committee also discussed the number of new houses being built in the County and wanted assurance that there would be sufficient GP capacity to support this. If patients could accept the new models of healthcare and they took heed to look after themselves it would be possible to deliver quality healthcare the newly expanded population. There are currently 65 GP surgeries, but this may reduce as the smaller practices merge.
The Scrutiny for Policies, Adults and Health Committee welcomed the update and supported the plans for the future development of Primary Care in Somerset.