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Br J Gen Pract. 2018 Mar;68(668):e168-e177. doi: 10.3399/bjgp18X694997. Epub 2018 Feb 12.

The impact of new forms of large-scale general practice provider collaborations on England's NHS: a systematic review.

Author information

1
Department of Health Services Research and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London.
2
Nuffield Trust, London.
3
Library and Information Service, Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Over the past decade, collaboration between general practices in England to form new provider networks and large-scale organisations has been driven largely by grassroots action among GPs. However, it is now being increasingly advocated for by national policymakers. Expectations of what scaling up general practice in England will achieve are significant.

AIM:

To review the evidence of the impact of new forms of large-scale general practice provider collaborations in England.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Systematic review.

METHOD:

Embase, MEDLINE, Health Management Information Consortium, and Social Sciences Citation Index were searched for studies reporting the impact on clinical processes and outcomes, patient experience, workforce satisfaction, or costs of new forms of provider collaborations between general practices in England.

RESULTS:

A total of 1782 publications were screened. Five studies met the inclusion criteria and four examined the same general practice networks, limiting generalisability. Substantial financial investment was required to establish the networks and the associated interventions that were targeted at four clinical areas. Quality improvements were achieved through standardised processes, incentives at network level, information technology-enabled performance dashboards, and local network management. The fifth study of a large-scale multisite general practice organisation showed that it may be better placed to implement safety and quality processes than conventional practices. However, unintended consequences may arise, such as perceptions of disenfranchisement among staff and reductions in continuity of care.

CONCLUSION:

Good-quality evidence of the impacts of scaling up general practice provider organisations in England is scarce. As more general practice collaborations emerge, evaluation of their impacts will be important to understand which work, in which settings, how, and why.

KEYWORDS:

general practice; health services; organisation and administration; quality improvement

PMID:
29440013
PMCID:
PMC5819982
DOI:
10.3399/bjgp18X694997

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