The Labour party has pledged to improve care for patients with multiple medications and conditions by bringing primary care teams together, including by co-locating services in one site where possible.

In its ‘Mission for Public Services’, the opposition party said that it aimed to give patients one point of contact for appointments with a range of professionals and services working together as part of a neighbourhood team – including GPs, dentists and mental health specialists.

Labour will encourage Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) to identify opportunities to join up services, ‘including by co-locating them on a single site where existing estate capacity allows and capitalising on the opportunity of closer working with voluntary organisations that are embedded in communities.’

The party said that this would be of particular benefit to patients with multiple conditions, ‘who often attend several very different clinics that each prescribe different medication or lifestyle changes, without coordination’.

And Labour said that it would ‘work towards ensuring everyone with complex multimorbidities has a named care coordinator in the community who can act as a single point of contact’.

The party said that it would work with the NHS to learn learning from sites where co-locating care was already happening and working well, such as the Bromley-by-Bow Centre, where they said that ‘holistic, one-stop care provided by a multi-disciplinary team in the community has reduced hospital admissions, supported hospital discharges and improved longer-term health outcomes’.

Since 2019, over 29,000 primary care staff have been recruited into multi-disciplinary roles within primary care networks – including 6,331 full-time equivalent (FTE) pharmacists working within general practices under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS).

But nearly three-quarters (72.8%) of practice staff surveyed by our sister title Pulse PCN in March said that they do not have sufficient estates space to house their ARRS staff, preventing them from making the most of the additional roles.

In a speech on Monday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also pledged to prioritise prevention, local healthcare and patient choice.

He said that he was aiming for an NHS ‘where care is closer to home’, and instead of patients being ‘stuck on the call at 8am’, he promised ‘a primary care system that offers different choices for different needs’.

The ‘Mission for public services’ also included a commitment to expand the role of community pharmacy beyond what is proposed by the current government.

‘Whilst the Government has announced some sticking plaster proposals in this area, we will go further, accelerating the roll out of independent prescribing to establish a Community Pharmacist Prescribing Service covering a broad range of common conditions’, the paper read.

The party also committed to ‘cut unnecessary red tape to allow pharmacy technicians to step up to some roles’ and support the delivery of clinical services with ‘greater digital interoperability’.