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Building sustainable primary care

14 June 2017

The Challenge

Increasing demands on general practice have intensified in recent years as the NHS struggles to train and retain GPs who are managing heavier and more complex workloads.

As the NHS moves towards new models of care based around care closer to home, many activities previously undertaken in hospital settings are now being done in primary care. However, this has not been matched by a proportional transfer in staff or funding leading to further pressures on the system.

Following the publication of the Five Year Forward View and the setting up of the primary care vanguards under the new care models framework, UCLPartners was approached by several partners looking for support in various aspects of primary care development.

Facing the challenge

UCLPartners set up the Primary Care Development (PCD) programme in April 2016 to support our partners to develop their local primary care strategy and implementation plans, and to foster partnership working across general practice, community, secondary and social care settings.

The aim of the programme is to build sustainability in primary care by harnessing the new opportunities provided by new models of care and national programmes like the General Practice Forward View.

Through conducting a comprehensive needs assessment with our partners, UCLPartners identified two areas where we could add the most value to our partners. These were:

  • Providing a forum for primary care leaders to share ideas and experiences, starting with the co-design of a common vision for the future of General Practice with emphasis on new models of care and provider development
  • Building the leadership, improvement capacity and capability of primary care organisations and their workforces to enable service redesign and wider transformation


  • Our Primary Care Network, organised around a series of quarterly workshops, has brought together a diverse network from across primary care and the community. The aim is to build relationships, share examples of local and national good practice, and reflect on new models of primary care with the objective of driving forward the primary care agenda and supporting the spread of best practice across the partnership geography.
  • UCLPartners set up a Leadership Development Programme for emerging leaders in primary care, which has been designed to equip staff with the knowledge, skills and expertise to develop into leadership positions in local primary care. It has been designed with the specific needs of commissioning partners in mind, and uses expertise and learning from similar programmes run by UCLPartners and our delivery partners.


  • 23 emerging leaders from across five CCGs, including Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, Enfield, and Haringey, are participating in our Leadership Development Programme, working on system level change management projects
  • We have fostered engagement between new provider organisations in primary care, including federations, localities and networks

Expanding the reach

We have set up seven Primary Care Quality Improvement (QI) Collaboratives, to deliver QI programmes across four CCG areas, including Havering, Redbridge, Enfield, and Haringey, covering 90 practices serving a population of 1.5 million people. This programme supports the development of local QI expertise by equipping participating practice staff with the skills and knowledge so that the locality is equipped to lead future collaboratives, thus creating a sustainable solution in QI capability building.