As part of its 2013 Primary Care Commissioning Strategy, NHS England (Greater Manchester) funded a programme of six ‘demonstrator communities’ to test new and innovative ways of delivering primary care services, with a key focus on increased access to general practice, integration and the use of technology. The project involved the development and implementation of an independent, academic evaluation of the communities.
The provision of comprehensive, patient-centred, coordinated, safe and accessible primary care services continues to be widely regarded as the foundation of NHS care. There is, however, currently a drive to ‘transform’ primary care services to better meet the needs of the population and address the growing and increasingly unsustainable pressures faced by health services. The evaluation of the primary care demonstrator communities provides NHS commissioners and providers with evidence-based findings regarding ‘what worked?’ (or ‘what didn’t work?’), ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ in order to support future decision making.
The evaluation included both a process and outcome evaluation and explored:
- The levels of activity associated with the implemented demonstrator interventions
- The outcomes (on A&E admissions, walk-in centre and out of hours activity, and patient satisfaction) brought about by the demonstrators providing additional weekday evening and weekend appointments in general practice
- The processes through which the demonstrator interventions were defined, implemented and modified over time.