20 December 2023

The House of Lords Committee on the Integration of Primary and Community Care has released its final report which notably references the Prescribing Now campaign.

Early this year, the RCSLT made a submission to the House of Lords Committee on the Integration of Primary and Community Care, which published its final report last Friday (15 December). The report has called for a significant overhaul of the NHS, drawing insights from our Prescribing Now campaign, and emphasising the urgent need for a more integrated healthcare system that prioritises patient-centric care.

Among the key proposals in the report is the expansion of independent prescribing and referral rights to more allied health professionals, which we have been advocating for in partnership as part of the Prescribing Now campaign. The report’s proposal suggests going beyond the government’s recent initiatives for pharmacists so that highly trained community clinicians, such as SLTs, could play a larger role in patient care, reducing the pressure on GPs. Extending independent prescription would allow SLTs to directly reduce waiting times for patient interventions and in particular improve patient safety, particularly in dysphagia cases.

The report advocates for a seamless integration of healthcare services, emphasising the importance of access to a range of professionals like GPs, pharmacists, district nurses, and mental health specialists and underscoring the need for a shift towards preventative care to better manage the health needs of the ageing population with complex, ongoing health issues. A series of structural and organisational reforms are recommended to achieve these goals, including evaluating integrated care systems for more effective collaborative working, simplifying the NHS contract and funding processes to foster multidisciplinary integration, and ensuring efficient data sharing through a standardised Single Patient Record (SPR).

The report also highlights the necessity of equipping healthcare staff with the skills to work across various clinical disciplines, advocating for improved training and job rotations. The inclusion of social care needs in the NHS’s Long Term Workforce Plan is also deemed crucial.

You can read the report here. More information about the Prescribing Now campaign is available on the RCSLT website.