Issues facing primary care
There is variation in the funding of primary care, the services provided in primary care and the outcomes achieved. Primary care trusts have found that Local Enhanced Services in primary care vary in specification, price and outcome. This has an impact on the rest of the health and social care economy.
Productivity gains need to be made in primary care to release time for clinicians to be able to respond to the GP commissioning agenda and to provide additional services in community settings as we seek to bring care closer to people's homes.
There is variation in the way in which primary care is commissioned and there is a need to share and encourage best practice.
Greater productivity by providers could improve access to dentistry. Performance management information for dentistry in the East Midlands shows that access for new patients could be improved if re-attendance rates were managed in line with national guidance.
Progress so far
Primary care trusts have been encourgaed to collaborate through existing primary care networks to address these issues. Consistent themes of work across all PCTs, with particular examples of good practice, include:
Review and rationalisation of Local Enhanced Services (NHS Nottinghamshire County and NHS Derby City)
Fairer funding projects to deliver more equitable funding of primary medical care providers (NHS Leicester City and NHS Derbyshire County)
Buddying and peer review systems between linked practices to improve quality of referrals (NHS Nottinghamshire County and NHS LEicestershire COunty & Rutland)
Increased use of quality and access information to improve efficiency and value for money from dentistry providers
Innovative communications and publicity to improve access to dental services, especially in hard to reach groups (NHS Northamptonshire)