Mark Robinson of Aecom and Marc Levinson of Murphy Philipps Architects report on how primary care is at the forefront of this challenge and how construction can respond
The NHS is celebrating 70 years and is considered to be one of the best healthcare systems in the world. The NHS has always gained significant public attention and support, heightened during these challenging times. With primary care as the front door of the NHS, where patients are likely to receive their first interaction, this service needs to continually adapt to support the future direction of the NHS.
Primary care is mainly provided by general practitioners (GPs), community pharmacists, dentists and opticians. There are regional differences across the UK. On behalf of NHS England, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) review, plan and procure primary care services and are responsible for delivery, quality, financial resources and public participation. The principle is that this care should be delivered outside hospitals wherever possible, with clinical pathways designed with this in mind.
Prominent focus has been on expanding the health offering from within the primary care setting in order to reduce demand on hospital services, with examples of improved patient experience.
With the further incorporation of social care, facilities must allow for both adaptable accommodation and technology to create an efficient response in bringing together such far-reaching services. These include community health, hospital services, mental health, social services, leisure, education, housing, transport, voluntary sector and other organisations and services.
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