The drivers behind the organisation are three-fold. Firstly, general practice workload has grown significantly over recent years, due to a growing elderly population, changes in medical technology and the ways in which patients are treated. This increase has not been matched by a proportionate increase in funding or workforce, leading to more pressure being put on GPs and their teams. Working together as a federation can help to ease this pressure, potentially by doing certain functions at scale, pooling resources, developing the workforce, and sharing best practice.
Secondly, national and local policy drivers are emerging which require a collective response from general practice. Nationally, funding is being made available for groups of practices working together, either on redesign of services or introducing new roles in primary care. The federation can access these opportunities and ensure the benefits are deployed in practices. Locally, the Doncaster Place Plan describes a vision where providers work together in formal partnerships. This requires general practice to be represented as a collective, as a provider, and Primary Care Doncaster Ltd is the vehicle for this.
And finally, there are population health challenges that can only be fully addressed by practices working together. Reducing health inequalities, and tackling the prevention agenda, is a huge task; but one that general practice should be at the very heart of, as it is the first port of call for thousands of families. Primary Care Doncaster aims to be a socially responsible organisation, working with its members and all its partners, to reverse the trends in preventable long-term conditions, and reduce variation in access to and quality of care across the borough.
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