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Practices urged to tackle local health inequalities

25 April 2013

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The current NHS reforms could distance GPs from efforts to improve health in their local communities, a report has claimed.  

Reclaiming a population health perspective says a more integrated approach between primary care and the community is “essential” to meet the challenges of chronic illness. 

Released by the Nuffield Trust and the National Association of Primary Care (NACP), the report is based on interviews with practice managers and GPs and data from  a ‘notional general practice’ of 10,000 patients. 

The interviews revealed an “appetite for further change”, the researchers claim. 

“Many people have called for general practices to take a more proactive approach to population health,” said lead author Ruth Thorlby. 

Thorlby, Nuffield Trust’s senior research fellow added: “There seems to be enthusiasm in general practice to make this vision real.” 

But the report also added that many GPs do not accept that population health is their responsibility, and called for the government to address this. 

The government was also asked to consider the resource limitations facing many GP practices, as a commonly expressed concern from interviewees. 

Dr Nav Chana, NACP Vice-Chair added: “This important report highlights the huge potential that primary care can make to delivering ‘state of the art’ population based healthcare.

“The practices participating in NAPC’s innovation network, and whom this report is based, have espoused the values of population healthcare, which underpin NAPC’s ambitions for the health service.” 

A full copy of the report is available on the Nuffield Trust website.