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Primary care leader commends “incisive” Commission report

6 December 2007

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The National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) chairman has called the Healthcare Commission’s State of Healthcare report “possibly one of the most penetrative and incisive in the history of the NHS”.

Yet Dr James Kingsland, Chairman of NAPC, also said it was “disappointing to note that the performance of primary care trusts (PCTs) has declined” in 2006/07.

Dr Kingsland attributed this partly to “the major reorganisation experienced at that time” and partly to the financial state of the NHS.

“Primary care is a complex sector,” said Dr Kingsland, “and there are few leaders out in the field, who have a genuine understanding and appreciation of the potential of primary care. These leaders need to be cultivated, some coming from general practice, and others from outside the NHS.

“It is possible, with imagination and in partnership with local players, to deliver equally high standards of healthcare to local populations, in underdoctored areas.

“Opportunities are being wasted because PCTs do not develop constructive relationships with the best of their existing practices, which could provide solutions to local problems. Practice-based commissioning provides a vehicle to bring about major improvements in services, which is currently not being used to its potential.

“The vast majority of general practice delivers world-class primary health care services, and opportunities are being missed to harness their enthusiasm and skills to turn poorly performing local authority wards around.”


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