Update on primary care efforts to ensure ICS representation

PSNC is continuing to work closely with other primary care professions to ensure the voice of primary care is heard – and fully considered – in the passage of the Health and Care Bill progressing through Parliament.

We are working with the British Dental Association, British Medical Association, Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee and National Community Hearing Association, to ensure parliamentarians are well informed of the primary care sector’s asks at every opportunity.

In the House of Lords Committee Stage in January,  Lord Hunt of King’s Health tabled two amendments based on our joint key asks. The first sought to ensure that Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) would have to consult primary care representative committees when preparing their annual strategic forward plan. The second sought to ensure that primary care professions would have mandated roles with Integrated Care Partnerships.

Despite having broad cross-party support from peers, these amendments were ultimately not successful. However, we welcomed the assurances given by the responding Government Minister, Lord Kamall, who said that:

“Partnerships will need to involve… representatives from across the system, including professionals from primary medical, dental, pharmaceutical and optical backgrounds”, and that the Government “supports the idea that primary care should be integral to ICB planning” and that they are “open to further conversations” on this.

In the House of Lords Report Stage earlier this week, a similar amendment was tabled by Lord Crisp that would require ICBs to work with primary care services when preparing and revising their five-year plans, in the same way they are required to work with NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts. Though this was not successful, further assurances were received from Lord Kamall:

’As we move to ICBs, we should make sure that primary care is not the poor relation [to secondary care]…ensuring that the primary care voice is sufficiently involved in joint forward planning in integrated care boards is our common ambition’’.

‘’We expect that, in publishing its plan, an ICB should set out how it has met this duty and consulted primary care and other partners. I am able to inform the House that NHS England has confirmed that its guidance will be explicit in its expectation that primary care will be a crucial partner in that process’’.

In his response Lord Kamall also referenced PSNC’s recent national press coverage on walk-ins:

’Only this week, we have seen stories and press reports of pharmacists calling for more of the functions of GPs to be delegated to them. They have helpfully suggested that they could save the NHS money and also provide better primary care services by taking on some of those functions. There is clearly a demand out there and that has to be encouraged’’. 

We will continue our joint work to produce a further briefing for Parliamentarians ahead of the third reading of the Bill in both the House of Lords and House of Commons.

Read our Joint Primary Care Briefing for Parliamentarians: 

Joint primary care briefing