NHS Insights

6 real-world insights into primary care in the NHS – direct from a Practice Manager

Gary Hughes recently joined Mtech Access directly from the NHS, where he had previously held the role of Practice Manger in a large Training Practice for 13 years. Here, Gary shares six real-world insights from his time in general practice, which may surprise many in pharmaceutical and medical device companies…  

1) 14 new health professional roles

Which clinician will see the patients who use your product?

For patients, primary care has always been about seeing the GP or nurse, but that’s no longer the case.

Did you know there are now an additional 14 health professional roles working together to provide patient care?

From social prescribers and physician associates to clinical pharmacists and paramedics, it can be difficult to know what they do and which patients they manage.

2) Non-clinical staff

How could you help increase the knowledge of non-clinicians in primary care… and how can this help your market access strategy?

Did you know that whilst all non-clinical staff in primary care complete mandatory training on a range of topics, such as equality, diversity and safeguarding, rarely is there anything on medicines or medical conditions? Yet they play a crucial role in delivering the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) and patient care.

Moving from primary care to market access, it has surprised me how little is understood about the role of these skilled non-clinicians, and the crucial part that they play in delivering QOF and patient care.

3) Recruitment challenges

Workforce shortage is the biggest challenge impacting patients, and it’s an area that you could help with.

When I was in primary care, I found it could take as long as a year and several attempts to recruit a GP or nurse. It meant long periods of stressed staff, poor access, and falling morale, and sadly this happened all too often.

On occasion we were offered help from our industry partners, which was warmly welcomed as it can make a great difference managing things like long term condition reviews.

4) Data collection, templates, and coding

Do you know what a template is, what a SNOMED code is, and how they are important to your market access strategy?

Since joining Mtech Access it has surprised me how little Pharmaceutical and Medtech companies understand the importance of templates and coding.

Templates are central to data collection and often direct the flow and content of the consultation. Coding ensures the data are accurate, informs future care, and is essential in delivering payment to the provider.

5) Medicines management and the Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The CQC is often seen as a hindrance, and not as an aid, by primary care. It takes up a significant amount of time and often distracts from patient care rather than improving it. Whilst a CQC inspection is rarely ever welcomed by general practice, it may be an opportunity for industry to support and work in partnership to help practices achieve a successful rating.

It’s an area that Pharmaceutical companies are probably unaware of, but medicines feature prominently. There are eight performance indicators relating to medicines management that can determine whether a practice is considered safe.

6) Primary care budgets and decision-making

Are you knocking at the wrong door, with the wrong message? With the right information, access could be a lot easier.

In my 12 years in general practice, key account managers would frequently tell me they could save me money on my prescribing budget. It’s an argument that is almost certain to fail immediately as these budgets are not held by the practice or the Primary Care Network (PCN). They were usually surprised when I told them there was little incentive to do extra work as we would never see any of the savings.

It is important to understand where decision making and funding sits before shaping your communication materials, and with so much changing in the NHS, there is a lot for industry to get up to speed on.

At Mtech Access, we are here to bridge the gap between NHS and industry, to help our clients understand their customers. We have a suite of education sessions designed to help you and your team stay one step ahead, including a programme focused on primary care in the NHS. We can tailor these sessions to support your market access and customer engagement strategy, or build a bespoke programme to suit your specific requirements.

Our education is based on real life experience, providing in depth knowledge so you can fully understand how primary care operates. From ‘appointments and access’ to ‘finance and IT systems’, from ‘QOF and enhanced services’ to ‘workforce’, we put this into context so you can see what it means for the success of your market access strategy.

For more information or to discuss your specific requirements email nhsinsights@mtechaccess.co.uk.