The British Medical Association's GP committee has published its vision for a “coordinated, integrated and community-based model of general practice” that seeks to tackle the pressures facing primary care, as well as providing solutions to the wider challenges in the NHS.
The General Practice Committee (GPC) document calls for a new approach to delivering care across general practice in an environment defined by rising workload pressures and falling resources.
The panel’s key recommendations call for:
- general practice to have a more integrated and personalised model of patient care that is delivered by a team built around the GP practice. This would involve working more collaboratively with diagnostic specialist care, community health and social care teams;
- improved urgent and out-of-hours (OOH) primary care services. This could include a clinician-led first point of contact, telephone triage service and reforms in the tendering process for OOH care, such as NHS111;
- improved accessibility and local accountability, by looking at innovative ways of working; for example, practices collaborating to provide extended surgery opening times across a community or using the latest technologies, such as Skype, as an alternative to face-to-face consultations; and
- empowering patients as partners through measures such as strengthening the patient voice in local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and through the further development of practice-based patient participation groups.
Commenting on the proposals, GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “we need to look at new ways of working that can help GPs play a central role in delivering care that is more efficient and responsive to the needs of patients who increasingly need services that are more personalised and closer to home. To make these ideas a reality, general practice needs greater investment to enable an expansion of the GP workforce and to fund new and innovative ways of working.”
“We must end the uncertainty about future funding which is holding back GPs from meeting short-term challenges and setting long-term goals that could be a solution to alleviate some of the pressure on the NHS as a whole,” he added.
The document is published alongside new BMA research which warns that many GPs are facing burnout and feel that current pressures, especially the uncertainty over future funding, are making it difficult for practices to undertake long-term strategic planning.
“These are barriers that we must overcome,” said Dr Nagpaul.