Shaping the future of primary care

Given that 90% of interactions with the NHS start and finish in primary care, it is essential that people using health services receive the right care at the right time.

NSS is working collaboratively to support primary care reform in Scotland through a series of dedicated workstreams within the Primary Care Targeted Support Programme (PCTS).


Text: Shaping the future of primary care. Image of a doctor walking down a suburban street, bag over shoulder.

This improvement programme was commissioned by the Scottish Government Primary Care Division, as part of phase one of the 2018 General Medical Services Contract (GMS2018).

Digital tools for staff on the front line

Some of our most recent initiatives across primary care include helping to shape the future of multidisciplinary teams (MDTs).

Patients frequently come into contact with professionals in the primary care MDT, such as nurses or pharmacists. Transforming the way these teams work, using digital technology, is a key focus for NSS. We have run workshops with colleagues from across the primary care spectrum to learn about their current experiences in patient care, and surfacing any issues they encountered was an important aspect of the conversations.

Paula Burns, Programme Manager at NSS, said: “One key improvement we were able to identify is remote access to the live environment where MDTs can update and share information securely. We set about exploring how other industries, at home and abroad, apply digital technology to resolve this challenge. We have now created a roadmap which we hope will allow people to reach their full potential as professionals, with the specific skills to create a synergy of effort that supports the needs of the population.”

Supporting an infrastructure for sustainable primary care

Another initiative underway across Scotland is surveys capturing essential information about the infrastructure of all GP owned and leased premises. Led by NSS Health Facilities Scotland (HFS), 531 surveys are now complete. The results will help to improve the primary care experience for patients and healthcare providers.

Re-imagining how space can support sustainable primary care provision moving forward is just one outcome of the results. In addition, NSS Practitioner Services will work to digitise historical paper patient records, which take up vital space within practices.

Combining data from the premises surveys with an understanding of GP IT systems storage needs helps us support change. Creating a better environment for collaboration and a much-needed learning space for the next generation of trainee GPs is just one focus area.

Gordon James, Director of HFS, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to support the Scottish Government in successfully completing the surveys. They’ll provide an up-to-date baseline of property appraisal information for the GP premises sector. Overall this will support the implementation of the Code of Practice for GP premises and future strategic planning of primary care infrastructure.”

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