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Primary care centres should be ‘diagnostic and service hubs’ – NAGP

The NAGP has formally proposed to the HSE that the planned centres should resource all patients by serving as diagnostic and service hubs that support patient-focussed care, with the full engagement of all local GPs.

According to the association, which has recently been invited by Government into GP contract talks, this would mean that Primary Care Resource Centres (PCRCs) in themselves may not always serve as locations for GP practices, but would be resources centres for all GPs and patients in a designated catchment area.

NAGP CEO Mr Chris Goodey commented: “There is a choice to be made – do we continue to focus primarily on buildings or do we develop the human and professional engagements of primary care teams in a way that allows all health professionals and GPs to engage equally? While enhancing primary care is to be lauded, existing primary care centres are under-utilised and have not delivered their full potential.

“If all GPs in a locality buy into the concept of one Primary Care Resource Centre (PCRC), this allows all to refer equally through one agreed pathway to podiatrists, dieticians, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, public health nurses and so on. Local and regional liaison among practices can be formalised. This would enable innovation and economies of scale for new developments. Supports for local integrated care would be accelerated and patient outcomes improved.”

The NAGP says its proposal could also have a major role in developing social inclusion in healthcare, attracting engagement from mental health and addiction services, counselling (Self Harm Intervention Programme/Counselling in Primary Care), Traveller health and other voluntary services that are active in primary care. PCRCs could also be a focal point for local engagement with other state agencies such as TULSA, the Departments of Education and Rural Affairs etc, it added.

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