The NHS Long Term Plan’s focus on primary care networks comes as no surprise, but the pace of development is, to say the least, ambitious. National bodies expect all GP practices to be members of a network by July this year, which suggests that initially they will be networks in name only.
Primary care networks have two functions in the vision set out by the plan. Practically they provide the local delivery units that will form ”building blocks” of integrated care systems (ICS). But they also provide the mechanism by which to realise the vision “for the first time since the NHS was set up in 1948 – of fully integrated community-based health care.”
Age UK’s personalised integrated care programme (PICP) aims to improve the lives of older people through practical support, underpinned by a change in the way that the health and care system works together for these people locally. This report analyses the hospital use of older people who had received a service from PICP in eight areas of England. The research concludes that it has almost certainly not been able to reduce costs or emergency admissions. However, the results suggest that the scheme may be identifying unmet need in the population, which manifests in greater use of hospital care.