General practice overview

General practice is a medical discipline unlike any other. It is purposed to deliver quality continuity of care, alongside prevention, in a community setting close to people’s homes and lives. It stands in estates in neighbourhoods as pillars of communities and has a unique model of practice as a small business unit contracted to the NHS.

It is cost-effective as the cost of a year’s service to an individual patient is the same as a single outpatient visit in a hospital setting.

In Greater Manchester, we wished to strengthen our voice and input to strategy and delivery blueprints by ensuring we have a way to bring together more than 400 dispersed practices and all other delivery collaborations into a space to decide how best to deliver our service to our patients. The General Practice Provider Board provides a setting for discussion and decision and nominates members to sit on the Primary Care Provider Board, where items of wider primary care collaboration are discussed.

We continue to transform and modernise the service in several ways:

  • Embracing digital service, but trying to balance where this is best for our patients
  • Enhancing access by enhanced access into the evenings and weekends to retain the continuity
  • Employing additional staff to help with particular areas of expertise – social prescribing, nursing, mental health, urgent care
  • Looking at the best delivery model to reach a patient’s home if they are housebound
  • Carefully looking at all services to ensure a reduction in inequality of access and utilisation

While transforming a service, it is essential to look at wellbeing of the service providers and additional help that can be offered in a safe peer-based environment.

In Greater Manchester, we offer this through GP Excellence. This focuses on rescue, resilience, quality improvement and excellence, helping practices to share best practice, informally levelling up services and giving access to improvement resources, and then contributing to the future as research practices.