The Patient Care: a unified approach report, jointly prepared by The Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of General Practitioners, demonstrates how GPs and physicians are innovating to improve patient care. This report has been compiled to share learning from successful examples of integration, and to encourage GPs and physicians to reflect on their own practice.
The case studies featured in Patient Care: a unified approach span a wide range of services in England and Wales, and cover a variety of learning points involving different specialties, different population groups and different ways of addressing complex issues.
Major themes highlighted in the report include:
- the many approaches to integration, which will vary depending on the patient population
- improved communication and the establishment of an ongoing dialogue between GPs and physicians are vital to successful integration
- empowering the workforce to make change, and the importance of providing an educational environment that encourages innovation
- a supportive external environment, including commissioning and funding fit for purpose, and information and technology systems that support primary and secondary care working together
- the difference that can be made to patients if GPs and physicians are part of a multidisciplinary team (MDT) and work across the whole health economy.
Where services are integrated, patients are more likely to be able to access care and support at the right time and in the right place for them. Not only do patients receive a better and more seamless service, but the case studies also show reductions in hospital admissions, bed days and unnecessary investigations.