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Inquiry into future of patient care launched

20 June 2014

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How to provide the best care for patients in tight times will be central to an independent inquiry launched by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). 

The inquiry will explore how to find cost effective solutions to the medical, social and financial challenges posed by rising levels of multi-morbidity within society.

A panel of 12 experts will be led by Mike Farrar (pictured), former chief executive of the NHS Confederation, and former head of primary care at the Department of Health. 

The experts, from organisations including the National Association for Patient Participation, Royal College of Physicians, NHS Confederation, Lloyds Pharmacy, and the RCGP, will look at the role of general practice within the context of primary, community and social care services.

The inquiry will assess three key questions:

 – How do models of NHS care need to change to deliver better patient outcomes, as cost effectively as possible, for the growing number of people living with multiple long-term conditions?

 – What does this mean for the way in which NHS resources are deployed across health economies in a financially constrained environment?

 – How can the role of general practice best be developed to support the new models of care required and what policy levers and financial mechanisms should be put in place to deliver these at the scale and pace needed?

The inquiry is calling for written evidence from interested organisations and individuals, to help inform the proceedings, to be submitted by 16 July.

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said: “The inquiry provides us with an fantastic opportunity to look at the efficacy of general practice at a time of increasing demand and constrained resources, and to make recommendations about what needs to change for us to continue to deliver high standards of patient care.

“This is an independent inquiry, but we hope that the findings will help inform the College’s landmark Put patients first: Back general practice campaign, which is calling for general practice to receive 11% of the overall NHS budget by 2017.”

Inquiry chair Mike Farrar said: “It is a real privilege to head up this critically important inquiry, which I hope, through working with such a knowledgeable team, will produce ground-breaking findings – which will inform the future development of models of NHS care.

“General practice is key to a fully-functioning, cost-effective NHS and it is important that we look into and promote ways that it can be sustainable in the future whilst working in the best interests of the patients and population it serves.”