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At the heart of general practice since 1960

RCGP launches inquiry into how GP role should change

The RCGP has launched an inquiry into how the role of GPs has to change in the face of funding challenges and an ageing population.

The ‘‘Inquiry into Patient-Centred Care in the Twenty-First Century’ will be led by Mike Farrar, the former NHS Confederation chief executive and former head of primary care at the Department of Health, looking at how best to deploy funding so that older people with many long-term conditions can get better healthcare and how the GP role can alter to support this, including how GP financial incentives should change.

The inquiry, which is intended to report initial findings in September, is calling for written evidence from interested organisations and individuals to be submitted by 16 July and will also hold three seminars in July and August where health expets will be quizzed for their ideas.

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said the inquiry would inform the college’s campaign for GP funding to take 11% of the overall NHS budget by 2017.

Dr Baker said: ‘The inquiry provides us with an fantastic opportunity to look at the efficacy of general practice at a time of increasing demand and constrained resources, and to make recommendations about what needs to change for us to continue to deliver high standards of patient care.’

Mr Farrar said he hoped the inquiry would produce ‘ground-breaking findings’ to change the NHS for the future.

He added: ‘General practice is key to a fully-functioning, cost-effective NHS and it is important that we look into and promote ways that it can be sustainable in the future whilst working in the best interests of the patients and population it serves.’

Readers' comments (10)

  • nothing to do with the rcgp

    they have never and never will represent grassroots GPs

    just after their gongs...

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  • Vinci Ho

    I am only interested because this inquiry is led by Mike Farrar.......

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  • The GP role has to change. We should no longer be first-line in musculoskeletal problems, minor ailments, nervous debility... They number too greatly in our surgeries and need redirecting to allied health professionals and self-help guides. We should be spending time managing complex/chronic conditions and the elderly, ensuring quality and safe prescribing/practice, managing palliative/dying patients... Too often I feel a rage growing in me when I know there is a late housecall phoned in that needs my time and effort yet not until I deal with twenty patients of whom all too often there includes some 21 year old woman who arrives in tears ("My boss is just horrible"), an arrogant middle aged man has a sore throat of two days duration who "doesn't like taking tablets"... and just as you pack your case for the house call your last patient arrives late but demands to be seen with their plethora of minor ailments while expecting you to listen (and eventually cure them) without a glimmer of impatience...

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  • I suspect all this review will say is we must integrate care for all patients, avoid admissions, avoid mistakes, provide instant access 24 hrs a day 7 days a week, be available in surgery, on the phone, by e-mail and by skype with no regard given to the fact that this will only ever be accepted as being additional to every current clinical comitment we already have. We will be expected to provide detailed care planning provided in easy to understand language, whilst providing carer support and access for carers which predictably in a significant number of cases will still result in a 999 call because people forget plans when faced with ill and dying. This will all be expected and demanded as a minimum to be funded by removal of income from something we will still have to do. No compensation in removal of clinical responsibility will offered for this increase and I suspect funding will be described as cost envelopes and austere times (regardless of the economic state) meaning less money....... can't wait for the report.

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  • How about launching an inquiry into how MPs keep giving themselves inflation-busting pay rises and have done so for years. How about an inquiry into every sector that has seen price and activity rises !!! It is paradoxical that the most efficient primary care that sees millions of patients every day for peanuts is the one that needs further throttling !!!

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  • Finding new ways of working, basically means passing our work onto someone else. It is possible with physics and mental health workers, but is it efficient?

    I can see patients having 3 x 30 minute physio appointments for an ankle sprain that I might have told them to just leave well alone/ walk it off.

    OR fortnightly mental health reviews for an entire 9 months course of SSRIs, whereas I would have started the drug, seen them a month later and seen them to stop it.

    This is often what those with their fingers on the till do not see. General Practice is incredibly efficient - and focus should be on growing that no finding ways of bypassing it.

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  • changing role = doing more for less

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  • The government spends more money on these enquires than on general practice. One person leading an enquiry when grass root hands on gps have given endless views.

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  • 3 months to go as a G.P. and counting down by the minute.! Good luck to you poor blokes having to work on.

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  • Cut the access for trivial and non-medical problems, have employers take more responsibility for stress issues, travel insurance to cover medical issues eg skiing accidents!

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