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Colleges outline proposals for 'more integrated care'.

By Gareth Iacobucci

A new report from three leading medical colleges has called on the Government to consider a raft of new commissioning proposals for providing more integrated care.

The report, developed by a working party of the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, says that the Department of Health should explore the idea of payment by pathway for an episode of care and annual payments by condition for long-term conditions.

The group also calls for the re-balancing of the incentives and disincentives of Payment by Results, which, according to a recent Audit Commission report, is currently failing to allow sufficient flexibility for practice based commissioners who are unable to have sufficient input into the commissioning process.

The report, entitled, ‘Teams without walls' the value of medical innovation and leadership', says jointly commissioned integrated health services provided by primary and secondary care working together are the most effective way to achieve ‘Care closer to home', one of the Government's key priorities in it's White Paper.

Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), said: ‘Teams without Walls' endorses a collaborative approach with strong clinical leadership, centering on the delivery of high quality, patient-centred care.

‘Developing closer working relationships between primary and secondary care clinicians – as recommended in the RCGP Roadmap to the Future of General Practice - will enable us to set up smoother care pathways and provide a wider range of integrated health services. This is particularly important for patients who move frequently between primary and secondary care, such as those with long-term conditions and the elderly.'

The report, also endorsed by the NHS Alliance, provides a range of examples of where integrated care has benefited patients, and can be found on the RCP website from today (Wednesday 23 April).

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