The third Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) for the Moving Forward Together (MFT) Programme took place on Tuesday the 9th of January. The Group of 14 patient, service user and carer representatives heard a presentation and engaged in discussion about the key role that services in the Primary Care setting will have in transforming the delivery of healthcare and social care services.
Lorna Kelly, Head of Primary Care Support and Development; Richard Groden, a GP in the East End of Glasgow and Clinical Director; Willie Wilkie, Lead Optometrist West Dunbartonshire and Alan Harrison, Lead Pharmacist for Community Care delivered presentations on the changing role of Primary Care Services. This covered the current service provision, what work had already taken place to transform some areas and what might be possible in the future to improve access.
The key points were that Primary Care was often the first port of call for many people and often the gateway to range of other hospital and community based services and plays a crucial role in ensuring people are able to live independently in their communities. GPs are looking at how they can work together more in clusters of practices to improve the care provided in an area. Also the use of and direct access to other highly trained specialists means that people can often go directly to the most appropriate person and get treatment or referral to services much sooner. A wide range of services is available in community pharmacies and optometrists. However, even with this more work is required to ease the pressure and they wanted to know how to make the system easier to use and what the key messages should focus on
The SRG members then asked questions and led discussion with many saying they were surprised with what services were actually available and that they felt the general population were unaware of what they could directly access. This might be due to a long held culture of going to the GP and people feeling that they are the go-to expert for treatment and advice. They felt that new approaches were required to illustrate the benefits to both people and services and endorsement and positive reinforcement could improve people’s knowledge and confidence to access other services.
The Group also felt that for those with complex long-term conditions the system needs to be easier to use and access and that someone having a coordination role could help. The group acknowledged the pressure health, social and voluntary services are under and that using resources differently and new ways of working are required. However, they were concerned that there could be a lack of consistency in some areas with not enough demand or funding to provide the same services or sustainability.