The model of general practice is changing and, at the core of this, general practice is moving away from a model of 'seeing a GP' to a model that is 'consulting with the multi-disciplinary team'. Primary care teams include over 15+ skilled roles, yet for many people accessing care, 'going to the GP' (the place) is synonymous with 'seeing a GP' (a doctor who is a general practitioner).
At National Voices, we believe that changes in health and care should be driven and underpinned by what matters most to people who use and need it the most. This project set out to understand awareness and experience of multidisciplinary teams across two groups: frequent users of primary care services and those who experience health inequalities.
We found that:
There was a low level of awareness of multidisciplinary teams, including amongst people who frequently use primary care.
In the current context of pressures in primary care, people often felt that multidisciplinary teams were a cost reduction measure, rather than an initiative designed to improve their care. This was the case, even though most people reported positive experiences with individual members of the multidisciplinary team.
For some groups, particularly those who have experienced inequalities and barriers to primary care, the shift to multidisciplinary teams can be experienced as a further barrier to participation in health and care.
The major themes that emerged were the importance of embedding practice within multidisciplinary teams which build trust, valuing the time and energy of patients and setting clear and reasonable expectations of what primary care users can expect.
The report presents these insights and makes recommendations on how to improve experiences of multidisciplinary teams within general practice amongst populations who experience health inequalities and frequent users of primary care services. In particular, the report highlights how primary care teams can build trust and assure people that general practice has oversight of their care.
A plain text version of this report is available to download here.
The Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and the UK Health Security Agency have provided a grant through the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance for our independent work on multidisciplinary teams in primary care.