The National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) have launched a joint publication on how adult social care and primary care can work more closely together through the primary care home (PCH) model, an established primary care network. 

At a time when the health and social care community await both the new NHS 10-year plan and a green paper on social care, Primary care home and social care: working together leads the way in highlighting the opportunities for a more joined up approach to enhance support for those in the greatest need, enabling them to live as healthily and independently as possible. 

Based on evidence and experience from across England, the guide examines barriers and challenges for integration and provides a toolkit for addressing the most common difficulties. It describes opportunities for collaboration and integration at the level of the individual patient, the local population and the wider system. 

 Designed to strengthen relationships between primary care and social care, the guide recommends the importance of establishing forums and teams which allow primary and social care to develop relationships at a local level, along with work at a wider level to minimise financial disincentives and challenges around conflicting boundary lines between local authorities and primary care populations. 

 It highlights examples of areas where primary care and social care have overcome obstacles and successfully started to integrate services with local communities benefitting from this approach. 

Professor James Kingsland, NAPC President said: “There is growing evidence that closer working relationships between primary care and social care can improve the support we are able to provide patients; enhance the working lives of our health and social care professionals and eliminate costly duplication and inefficiency. Our primary care home model has integration at its heart and those with local government as partners are seeing the real benefits of the alliance.” 

ADASS President Glen Garrod said: “This is a welcome document for ADASS which further cements the growing relationship between primary care and social care, and underlines the importance of the voice of the community and the role of prevention. 

“The guide highlights the excellent work councils are already doing with colleagues in primary care. It also offers an alternative vision of integration, which is built from a sense of place - the grass roots of communities, actively involving people who use services in shaping their goals and the services they want and need.” 

Although it is a stand-alone document, the guide forms part of a suite of materials produced by NAPC to support sites adopting the primary care home model which has now spread to 217 sites across England. 

Primary care home - an established primary care network - is an innovative approach to strengthening and redesigning primary care. Developed by the NAPC, the model brings together a range of health and social care professionals working as a team to provide enhanced personalised and preventative care for their local community. 

Staff working across the health and care system come together as a complete care community – drawn from GP surgeries, community, mental health and acute trusts, social care and the voluntary sector – to focus on local population needs and provide care closer to patients’ homes. Its focus is on a defined, registered population enabling primary care transformation to happen at a fast pace, either on its own or in collaboration with others as a foundation for larger models. 

The guide is available to view below.