BMA response to the King's Fund report on the future of general practice
(issued Wednesday 19 Feb 2014)
Responding to the publication of the King's Fund report, Commissioning and funding general practice: making the case for family care networks, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of the BMA’s GP committee, said:
“It is important that we constantly look for ways to improve the way we deliver care to patients. The King’s Fund are right to recognise the unique contribution general practice makes to the NHS and that we need more resources to be allocated to GP practices so that they can continue to deliver the high quality service patients have come to expect. We do also need to encourage more collaborative working to help GPs take on the role of providing new services in the community, including the care the government wishes to move out of hospitals.
“However, general practice does not need another reorganisation on the back of the incredibly time consuming and costly restructuring GPs have only just undergone. Instead we should be focusing on tackling the serious workload and financial challenges facing GP practices, and supporting them to evolve and develop rather than wasting resources rearranging the NHS’ already complicated bureaucracy.
“There is also no evidence that changing wholesale the contractual basis of general practical would deliver any real benefits to patients. In its current form, the GP contract enforces nationally agreed standards of care across the country while allowing practices the flexibility to tailor their services to the demands of their local community. The King’s Fund alternative would see GP services subsumed into wider commissioning budgets that would both make it more difficult to guarantee national standards and hinder the ability of local GPs to truly manage the services they deliver.
“While we need to be bold in addressing the problems facing general practice, we must ensure that we don’t implement needless, disruptive policies that focus more on structures than patient outcomes. The BMA’s GP committee’s own vision for the future of general practice shows how we can achieve many of the King’s Fund aspirations by building on practices current contracts, and focusing on supporting innovation, such as through the pooling of resources under a federation system. We also need to back general practice with targeted funding in the areas that really need support."
Notes to Editiors
The BMA's GP committee's vision for the future of general practice can be read here.
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