Commenting on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s new deal for general practice, announced today and which includes details on increasing the primary care workforce by at least 10,000 including around 5,000 more GPs, targeting under-doctored areas and improving surgery infrastructure,
Rob Webster, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, which has around 500 members across health and social care, said:
“We welcome Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s comments on the role that primary and community care has in tackling the challenges facing the health service. Other countries look upon our system of list-based general practice with envy and we need to use it as the foundation for great care. Well supported GPs have a huge role to play in this – and they are not alone.
“We need to recognise that primary care extends far beyond GPs. The NHS Confederation has for a long time argued that increasing GP numbers alone will not solve workforce pressures in primary care.
“The secretary of state rightly recognises the importance of other professionals such as pharmacists, therapists and community nurses in increasing quality and capacity in primary care and we welcome this.
“To address this we need a whole-system approach to service and workforce planning built on communities. This means more joined up working between primary care and other services. We highlighted this earlier this year in a joint response to a primary care workforce commission lead by Professor Martin Roland and referred to by Mr Hunt.
“All patients, no matter where they live, should have access to the same high standards of care already offered by the best practices and an effective and strong system of general practice is vital to a sustainable NHS.”
Dr Nav Chana, Chairman of The National Association of Primary Care (NAPC), said:
“This approach to workforce development in primary care must be focused on building teams with the right skills needed to address local population needs as well as addressing shortages in GP numbers.
“NAPC recognises the importance of improving access to primary care across seven days, however, we need to ensure we first get the system right “in hours” and build on the evidence around patient access to avoid falling in the trap of supply induced demand. In addition there may be many more solutions to be explored for providing a seven-day service.
“We also welcome the approach to reviewing outcomes around patient groups but wish to ensure that these include an emphasis on outcomes that matter to people including wellness, prevention and self-care as well as those related to illness.”
James Kingsland, President of NAPC said:
“I welcome the Secretary of State’s commitment to reducing bureaucracy and support technological innovations that will enable professionals to spend more time with their patients.
“As an organisation at the forefront of defining and testing new models of working through its Primary Care Innovation Network (PIN) and the National Association of Provider Organisations (NAPO), NAPC will continue to encourage and empower primary care to try new things to improve the health and wellbeing of local people.”