Busting the myths about primary care

Increasing GP numbers alone will not solve problems in primary care. So says the NHS Confederation, which says that healthcare in the community should be universally accessible and supplied by a multi-professional team.

Primary care includes your community pharmacy, high street opticians and dental practices as well as GPs.

Are more GPs the answer?

It is a myth that A&E is the first port of call for most patients. Around 90 per cent of care takes place in the community. While demand for GP services rose by 13 per cent between 2008 and 2013/14, consultations with nurses rose by 8 per cent and with other primary care professionals, including pharmacists, by 18 per cent.

It is also a myth that primary care is only used by patients with minor ailments. A significant percentage of GP workload relates to managing long-term conditions, such as diabetes, or cardiac disease in the over 65s. Some 60 per cent of this last group will have more than 12 GP visits per year and have over 24 items dispensed in their local pharmacy.