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Br J Community Nurs. 2002 Oct;7(10):520-7.

An evolutionary approach to team working in primary care.

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Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust, Ryhope, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, UK.


Recent government policy emphasizes that interventions to improve health should be shifted as far as possible towards addressing identified needs and that partnership working is a key part of this initiative. The needs of patients are central, and patients want consistency and continuity from nursing. However, their experiences are sometimes fragmented, as professionals often have a degree of protectiveness about roles between nursing disciplines. Our vision for primary care in Sunderland is to achieve collaborative, empowered team working with shared philosophies and goals to develop and deliver creative, effective services in primary care. The balance of power will be shifted to front-line teams supported by strong strategic and professional leadership. This article outlines how new models of practice are replacing routine patterns of work; health needs and user involvement is encouraged. The role of the facilitator and the tools developed to progress with this initiative are described, including a stage approach to team development, a benchmarking tool and achieved outcomes of team working through new service developments.

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