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Agenda item

ICB Primary Care Strategy

Purpose: To present the draft ICB Primary Care Strategy for comment, and encourage Members to promote it through their networks.


Sanjay Desai (Head of Primary Care Operations, BOB ICB) presented the item on the Primary Care Strategy (Agenda Item 8).

The following points were raised during the course of the debate:

·       The Strategy would be a key element of the Health and Wellbeing Board conference on 19 April.

·       The Strategy was seen as the starting point for the prevention agenda. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) was the biggest killer of people in England. The new Community Wellness Project encompassed what partners were seeking to do in terms of prevention. Prevention activity would progress to other conditions once the impacts of the CVD project were understood.

·       There was considerable collaboration taking place between the ICB and primary care providers.

·       Pharmacy First was the biggest change to affect community pharmacy in 10 years and it was accompanied by a cash injection, which would help providers to survive. Initial feedback had been overwhelmingly positive. It was easier for patients to see pharmacists than to get a GP appointment. Over 200 practice managers and GPs had received a presentation on Pharmacy First. Working together would help to ensure that patients received the care they deserved.

·       Members sought reassurance that patient information captured at the pharmacy would be shared with GPs through the NHS app. It was confirmed that £20M had been invested in digital pathways to ensure that every consultation was added to the patient’s record. These would be accessible by GPs and by patients via the NHS app. If hospitals were able to access patient records, they would be able to see this information too.

·       The ICB had received feedback from patients that it was sometimes hard for patients to access the right person. The Strategy sought to ensure that the patient got to see the right person at the right time. It was recognised that patients with complex needs would benefit from seeing the same clinician each time and from having longer consultations, but it was often difficult to accommodate this.

·       Primary care providers were keen to do more pro-active and preventative work and the Strategy should help by better managing urgent demand.

·       Pharmacy First would help to tackle the frustrations experienced by patients who had previously consulted their pharmacist only to find that they still needed to see their GP for a prescription.

·       The Strategy also sought to build on existing relationships with community / voluntary / social services. Integrated Neighbourhood Teams would bring all healthcare professionals together to offer a seamless service to residents.

·       Members suggested that the scheme could be better promoted. It was explained that national advertising had only just started that week and the ICB was also in the process of rolling out its campaign. It had been a conscious decision not to have a big launch on the first day, since pharmacists were being trained to be confident in clinical examination. Advertising would be ramped up in the coming weeks.

·       While Members welcomed the move from acute care to primary care, the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust had a £10M budget deficit and it was queried whether this was a case of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’.  It was explained that the ICB was currently developing its financial plans for 2024/25. There was a desire to invest in pro-active / preventative services where possible, but the potential risk of destabilising services was acknowledged. Work was underway to tackle the Trust’s budget deficit. Consideration was being given to how best to align resources to free up resources to invest elsewhere. This included reallocating staff as well as funding. Shifting to a more preventative model of care would allow people to stay well for longer and lead to a reduced level of resources in acute care.

·       Members were encouraged to talk to their constituents about the Strategy and provide feedback.

·       Engagement on the draft Strategy would continue until the end of March. A number of focus groups had already been held, but the ICB was happy to arrange additional events if needed.

RESOLVED to note the report.

Supporting documents: