Agenda item

Progress report: Enabling Primary Care Strategy

This report summarises the feedback from a series of engagement sessions held with GP teams across Birmingham and Solihull during November 2022- January 2023.


The themes also reflect those heard from elected members and partner organisations over the course of the preceding 12 months in relation to concerns relating to GP access.


The report does not detail implementation plans to improve GP access, it sets out the approach by which we aim as a system to transform health and care services at a neighbourhood level. This approach responds to what we have heard locally, and reflects the recommendations set out by Claire Fuller in her National review of primary care service.


The feedback and themes are being incorporated into a Primary Care Strategy that is currently being drafted.



The Chief Officer for Primary Care and Integration, BSOL ICS presented the report, outlining the development of the Enabling Strategy for Primary Care.


Members were informed how the report summarised feedback from a series of engagement sessions held with GP teams across Birmingham and Solihull. The themes also reflected those raised by Members and partner organisations over the previous 12 months.


The Chief Officer for Primary Care and Integration took Members through the feedback and themes, as outlined the report, and detailed how these were being incorporated into the Primary Care Strategy. He confirmed that, as part of the next steps for the Strategy, there would be engagement with the public and Healthwatch


Member raised the following observations and queries:

  • A Member queried the governance arrangements across Primary Care for benchmarking and sharing best practice.
  • The Chief Officer for Primary Care detailed how, as part of the new arrangements going forward, a GP Partnership Board had been established, which consisted of 12 front-line Primary Care professionals, elected by their peers. This Board would closely link with the ICB and Place Committee, whilst also providing opportunities to support greater peer support and sharing of best practice.
  • A Member raised the role of Integrated Neighbourhood Teams, querying their membership. They also highlighted the co-location of services and queried how this could be achieved with independent practices. The Member also raised the focus upon digital services and queried how this could be delivered alongside the development of Neighbourhood Teams and localised services.
  • The Chief Officer for Primary Care detailed how Integrated Neighbourhood Teams were at the heart of the new BSOL ICS arrangements. The membership of these Teams were evolving and included GP’s, GP practice staff, community services, council officers, voluntary sector reps, all focusing upon integrating care in local neighbourhoods.
  • The Chief Officer for Primary Care explained that the reference in the report to co-location was regarding the co-location of wide range of organisations and services. An example of this could be the potential co-location of services in empty high street spaces.
  • The Chief Officer for Primary Care detailed how digital services could be introduced at scale or for a specific location. Feedback on the development of the Strategy and digital services included how one size didn’t necessarily fit all. It was recognised people valued continuity of care and access to face-to-face services, as appropriate.
  • A Member detailed the issues they encountered when attempting to use GP practice websites, including updating their home address. The Member queried how improving GP practice websites and offering greater digital solutions could be taken into account.
  • The Chief Officer for Primary Care detailed how the focus upon improving Primary Care access had demonstrated variation in the digital offer across GP practices and, in some instances, the potential for improvement. BSOL ICS provided a Primary Care website improvement offer. It was confirmed a report on Primary Care improving access works was scheduled for a future Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee and this could include an update on the improvement of the digital offer also.
  • A Member welcomed the emphasis in the report upon greater data collection and analysis across Primary Care. They queried how it was ensured the necessary data was collated in the first instance – as an example, they noted the focus upon same day appointments and expressed concern this may impact on residents who required medium term appointments.
  • The BSOL ICS Chief Executive detailed the work being undertaken with Birmingham University to obtain the views of Primary Care service users, where over a million texts were being sent out. This would provide a significant volume of data to inform quality improvement works.
  • Members highlighted the volume of instances where people had to arrange an appointment with a GP, rather than other professionals, because another individual or organisation instructed them to do so – this included sick notes for work and insurance company referrals. They queried the engagement with businesses and organisations, to help their understanding of the new ways Primary Care services were being delivered.
  • The Chief Officer for Primary Care detailed the ongoing improvement works being undertaken, whereby Primary Care was engaging with clinicians and professionals from a range of other organisations on the delivery of services. He confirmed these points would be taken into account.


The Chairman welcomed the report and thanked Members for the key points they raised. He explained how the Committee was due to receive future reporting on the ongoing work to improve GP access and noted this could include digital improvement works also.



  The Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee:

(i)  Endorsed the themes identified in the Enabling Primary Care Strategy progress report.

(ii)  Requested that the key points raised by Councillors be taken into account in the development of the Strategy, especially on the importance of effective communication and engagement with the public, to ensure understanding of the on-going changes in Primary Care.


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