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More investment in primary care to benefit secondary care

by Léa Legraien
27 September 2017

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Higher investment in primary health care results in massive savings for secondary health care, reveals a study published in the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP).

Researchers at King’s College London gathered data between 2014 and 2015 in a cross-sectional study of NHS payments to general practices in England. 

The authors conducted their research based on three GP contract types, the national General Medical Services (GMS) contract, the new GMS contract, which features a Mean Practice Income Guarantee (MPIG) acting as a capitation supplement, and the local Personal Medical Services (PMS) contract.

The findings reveal that, among the three models, only investments in practices with a new GMS contract would lead to reduced secondary care costs.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, welcomed the results of the study.

‘These findings back up what the College has been saying for years – that investing more in general practice makes sound economic sense, and can alleviate pressures right across the health service,’ she said.

The report concluded that notional investment in capitation supplements led to less A&E and OP attendances and emergency and Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions (ACSC) admissions.

‘This should translate into reducing demand on secondary care colleagues, and more care and services being delivered in the community, where it is more cost effective, and where our patients want it most.

‘GPs and our teams make the vast majority of NHS patient contacts – today alone we will see more than 1m patients across the country. Our service is the lifeblood of the NHS and without it, other services would simply crumble.

‘Yet, whilst workload in general practice has soared – 16% over the last seven years according to recent research – funding for our service has declined, and our workforce has not risen in pace with demand.

‘NHS England’s GP Forward View has pledged £2.4bn extra a year for general practice, 5000 more GPs and 5000 more members of the wider practice team by 2020 – today’s study is further evidence that this must be delivered in full and as a matter of urgency, said Professor Stokes-Lampard.

The report can be found here.