Radical modernisation of general practice has been called for in a report commissioned by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).
An inquiry into patient centred care in the 21st century urges the Government and NHS England to set up a ‘transformation fund’ to drive a shift in the way GP care – which currently receives 8.5% of the NHS budget – is delivered and redress the imbalance between primary and secondary care funding.
The independent inquirysupports the idea of federations of practices working together, employing multi-disciplinary teams, in a move away from the traditional ‘cottage industry’ model of small, relatively isolated surgeries.
It also highlights the need for a change in GP attitudes as patients expect access to appointments and records online and would like support to manage their own conditions.
It says: “The shift to delivering more proactive and patient-centred care within general practice is also in some instances being held back by traditional attitudes and behaviours in regard to care delivery.
“It will be vital to encourage and enable health professionals to provide holistic and personalised care, and to support patients to play an active role in managing their own health. This requires professionals to work with patients in a very different way, demanding new skills, knowledge and ways of thinking about the dynamics of power between professionals.”
RCGP Chair Maureen Baker welcomed the report and said: “The sustained growth in the number of patients with more than one long term condition, coupled with the plummeting level of investment in community care, has left general practice, as we know it, withering on the vine.”
The report, written by former NHS Confederation Chief Executive Mike Farrar and a team of 10 advisers from across the health care sector makes 46 recommendations, including calls for a move away from ‘tick box clinical guidelines and performance indicators’ and ‘resources and support for patient participation groups’.