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Guidelines in Practice NHS restructure survey reveals progress in primary care, but misgivings about the future 

 July 29, 2021

A survey conducted by Guidelines in Practice to explore the opinions of healthcare professionals on the NHS restructure reveals that, while the healthcare workforce is optimistic about the potential of the reorganisation to improve patient care, significant barriers to implementation remain. 

Of the survey respondents, 65% feel that a wider skill mix in primary care will lead to more comprehensive care for patients, but 75% do not believe that the restructure will succeed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Respondents highlight significant obstacles to the success of the restructure: 

  • three-quarters of respondents (75%) lack confidence that the restructure will improve patient care in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic  
  • more than half (59%) of the respondents believe that there is insufficient funding to support workforce development 
  • fewer than one-third (31%) of the respondents feel that the changes have freed up GP time (31%), and even fewer (26%) think that GP workload has reduced as a result.  

Although key findings from the survey reveal positive changes have been made:  

  • 65% agree that a wider skill mix in primary care will lead to more comprehensive care for patients 
  • 75% state that their practices have already appointed clinical pharmacists, 57% have appointed social prescribing link workers, and 48% have appointed physiotherapists  
  • 78% of respondents consider it feasible or very feasible for their GP practice to collaborate in local partnerships. 

Angela O’Neill, Editor of Guidelines in Practice, said: ‘Although some GPs, nurses, and pharmacists recognise the potential of the restructure to enable more seamless care for patients, many are dismayed about the limited time and resources to implement the changes. It is clear that additional funding and support is needed if primary care is to harness the potential benefits of the new NHS model. 

Healthcare professionals can read the preliminary survey results at guidelinesinpractice.co.uk, with a full round-up and analysis of results to follow later in 2021. 

If you work in the pharmaceutical industry and are keen to find out implications revealed in the survey for your brand, contact your MGP account manager or marketing@mgp.co.uk.

Background information 

The NHS in England is undergoing a restructure that has the potential to transform primary care: since April 2021, all parts of England are being served by an integrated care system (ICS), tasked with the delivery of joined-up patient care. Within ICSs, GP practices—working in partnership with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital, and voluntary services—are establishing primary care networks (PCNs) to deliver integrated care at place level. Simultaneously, the general practice workforce is expected to expand, generating multidisciplinary primary care teams that alleviate the burden on GPs. However, the NHS is currently experiencing the worst pressure in its 73-year history, and facing a backlog of care delayed by the pandemic. 

Notes to editors:  
About Guidelines in Practice

Guidelines in Practice is monthly publication for UK-based primary healthcare professionals providing independent articles to support evidence-based best practice. Guidelines in Practice is published in print and onlineThe print publication is distributed free of charge to relevant UK healthcare professionals, including GPs and those with an interest in the development and implementation of primary and shared-care guidelinesAccess to guidelinesinpractice.co.uk is free of charge for UK-based doctors, nurses, and pharmacists with a current professional number (GMC, NMC, or GPhC). 

About the survey 

The Guidelines in Practice NHS reorganisation survey was conducted online from 24 June–7 July 2021. Guidelines in Practice users were asked to complete the survey via a link in the June issue of the print journal, a personalised email, and promotion of the survey online. A total of 270 healthcare professionals responded to the survey, and the data was analysed in aggregate. 

About MGP 

MGP is a specialist healthcare publisher dedicated to Improving patients’ lives by promoting best practice in healthcare. Based in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, MGP specialises in delivering evidence-based multichannel content to healthcare professionals based around clinical guidance. MGP’s brands include: Guidelines, Guidelines in Practice, Guidelines for Nurses, Guidelines for Pharmacy, and Guidelines Live. MGP is the current Professional Publishers Association (PPA) Independent Publisher of the Year. MGP is part of the Medscape Professional Network. For more information, please visit: www.mgp.co.uk.

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