Welsh health and care think tank the Bevan Commission have joined forces with the Royal College of General Practitioners, encouraging action on strengthening and supporting primary care services across Wales. The two leading health and care bodies have called for support to ensure that changes are fully embedded into primary care services for the future.
The organisations, who have collaborated on Primary Care over several months, have produced a report reinforcing the crucial role that primary care plays in supporting health and wellbeing, particularly in light of Covid-19. Video and telephone consultations, online prescriptions, point of care testing and access to other health professionals are just some of the proposed changes to primary care highlighted in the joint report.
Dr Mair Hopkin, Joint Chair of RCGP Wales, said “When this project began, no-one could have known the level of rapid change we would see in Primary Care due to Covid-19. Yet, that context is precisely why this report is even more timely today. Alongside RCGP’s recent report, General practice in the post Covid world, I think Delivering a Prudent Approach to Primary Care in Wales is a further example of the pro-active idea-formulation from within primary care. Together with the Bevan Commission and our colleagues across primary care, this report seeks to help shape how a rapidly evolving service can best provide excellent patient care.”
The Bevan Commission, who established the Prudent Health and Care Principles, continues to reinforce the importance of prudent healthcare at the heart of service design and delivery. This will help ensure that people are helped to stay healthy, supported when ill and making sure that those in greatest need are prioritised. It also emphasises the need to use all skills and resources effectively by working with other health and care professionals and local networks.
Helen Howson, Director of the Bevan Commission, said “the report highlights the significant contribution that primary care makes in promoting health and wellbeing in local communities, not just in treating ill health. Engaging local communities will be crucial in moving forward as they hold many of the solutions.”
The report calls for people to get more involved in shaping services and in managing their own health and wellbeing, utilising other local services and support such as gyms and community interest groups. It also identifies the need to continue to maximise and invest in developments to date, many of which have played a key role in the continuation of primary care services during Covid-19, including services such as video consultations and online prescriptions.
These new ways of working must be here to stay if Primary Care is to keep up with future demands and the changing needs of local people. More online services, video consultations and wider access to other professionals such as pharmacists, physiotherapists will be essential to future services.
‘Delivering a Prudent Approach to Primary Care in Wales’ is available to download in full on the Bevan Commission website: https://www.bevancommission.org/publications/2020/Delivering-a-Prudent-Approach-to-Primary-Care-in-Wales-
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