In this assignment I will attempt to critically analyse whether collaboration is an essential requirement to promoting health in the primary care setting. The analysis will be illustrated where possible with reference to my own experiences of primary Care practise. Names and information relating to patients throughout this document will be altered and pseudo names, utilised in order to protect their confidentiality, in accordance with the Nursing and Midwifery Councils Code of Practice. (NMC 2002, Clause 5).
Finally I will conclude by giving my opinion on areas I feel need improving, to achieve a higher standard of effective collaborative practice. Nurses working in primary care today face the issues of collaborative practice and integrated team – work daily. The Department of Health (1989) announced the need for superior collaboration by recognising some individuals will suffer not from one single problem/disability but from several, covering both social and health care needs. In these cases no single professional body can encompass the whole of these
problems. It also reveals that effective team – work and collaboration is imperative for the facilitation of all health services working together for successful provision of care in a more holistic approach. The integration of nursing teams in primary has been a relatively recent development (Beech 2002) it has been widely recognised that a team effort is required to nurse successfully (McMurray, 1993). In the teams the members may be very skilled at their own jobs, but few have received education or training in
how to work together in an effective team. It is a pooling of skills and experience, recognising the best support agency to meet the clients needs that is required. The following factors in ensuring effective collaboration must be satisfied. These include the knowledge and understanding of the role and function of other agencies, being aware and accepting different perspectives of a problem, efficient and effective documentation; a willingness to share knowledge and a clear understanding of boundaries and responsibilities.
Who (1978) states primary care is the first point of contact for individuals, the family and community with the national health system, bringing health care as close as possible to where people live and work, and constitutes the first element of a continuing health care process and is seen to revolve around general practice. Blackie (1998) defines primary health care as an approach to the planning and delivery of health services. The current organisation of primary health care in the NHS was set up in the white paper published in 1997 (DOH 1997, working together for better
health). In order to maintain that collaborative work is successful, it is important to have effective communication. District Nurses have stated that patient care can often be missed and/or repeated unnecessarily. This means that there have been communication breakdowns (Aitken et al 1999). Cowley (1993) states although there may be collaborative problems between workers of various professions and training, these are compounded by the need to work across the agency or departmental boundary.
In the recent publication of the National Service Framework for Older people (DOH 2001) the government aim to set new standards for the health and social care for elderly people, it also aims to ensure that older people get better health care, through innovative working and a more multi agency collaboration. Hindrances to collaboration can be reduced by efficient procedures and the development of organisational structures designed to encourage interprofessional relationships, such as health centres, the sitting of various agencies in close proximity (Blackie 1998).
Roberts and Priest (1997) says that collaborative working within nursing is not something that can be achieved by legislation alone Collaboration and team work have been described by Brechin et al (2000) as a group of individuals with varying backgrounds, perspective skills and training who work together towards a common goal of delivering health or social care service to the service user. Successful collaboration can have many benefits, which include improved standards, and a greater efficiency and community.