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Support for GPs is vital for the future

22 May 2014

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Lack of time and resources is preventing GPs from exploring collaborative ways of working, a survey has revealed.

The British Medical Association (BMA) suggested that collaborative working such as forming GP federations or networks to pool resources would be an efficient management of resources for GP practices.

The survey of 1,555 GPs revealed that workload pressures were a reason preventing the formation of federations for 69%, while 66% also stated time as a barrier.

Deputy chair of the BMA’s GP Committee, Dr Richard Vautrey said: “It is deeply disappointing that the very problems that are spurring the need for more collaborative working are preventing GP practices from putting in place in proper solutions. As this survey shows, many GP practices simply do not have the time because of workload pressures to even explore the benefits that working in a network might offer.”

Support for GPs is a vital step in allowing them to form these networks, with 66% saying that further guidance would be helpful and around 44% would like both HR and project management support.

GPC lead for Commissioning and Service Development, Dr Beh McCarron-Nash said: “There is also clear evidence from this survey that there is a real need for high quality legal, HR and project management to enable GPs to explore collaborative ways of working, and practices should be properly supported with these resources.”

Despite the barriers, around 35% are considering joining a network or federation, while 22% are already a part of such arrangement.

Around 63% of GPs want to develop a network to bid for enhanced primary care services such as sexual health and contraceptive services, smoking cessation and drug dependency services, while around 45% were not convinced of the benefits of these networks