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RCGP calls for more patients to be treated in practices

17 September 2007

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Patients should only be sent to hospital as a “last resort” and instead be treated by GPs working as “federations”, according to a new report.

The Royal College of General Practitioners’ (RCGP) “roadmap” shows how the future of general practice could look.

It claims doctors should be at the centre of providing care, adding general practice is “truly at a crossroads”.

It says: “The status quo is not sustainable. Fragmentation of care, health inequalities and urgent care must be addressed.”

To meet the health needs of patients in future, there will have to be “a radical change in the quality, organisation and delivery of services”, the report adds.

Hospitals should be reserved for providing specialised care and major surgery, with more procedures carried out in GP practices.

Generalists and specialists could work together to treat almost all health problems – including mental health – away from hospitals.

The proposed model supports the Government’s key aim of moving care away from hospitals and into the community.

Under the plan, GP practices will work more closely to serve the needs of local people and drive up standards, and could even club together to buy specialist equipment, such as scanning machines.

The model is already working in parts of the UK but the RCGP wants this to become the “norm”, a spokeswoman said.

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