Individual GP patient lists are not required to ensure continuity of care, NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard has suggested.
Ms Pritchard was giving evidence to the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee yesterday, when its chair Jeremy Hunt asked if NHS England ‘would consider bringing back individual patient lists, perhaps as part of a wider reform to QOF’.
But Ms Pritchard responded that much of ‘what ICSs are committed to in relation to primary care’ does ‘not require contractual change’.
‘So an awful lot of this I think we just need to recognise we can take forward and we are seeking to take forward, independent of contractual negotiations.’
She also said: ‘In terms of the contract, that has a process to run through, which takes us to 2024/25. So it’s not my expectation that we will be seeking to do something outside the timeline of the contract. But as I say, I don’t think we need to wait for the contract to get on with this.’
Without specifying any details, Ms Pritchard also said that ‘towards the end of the current contract’ she said there would be ‘an opportunity for us to think again about actually how we recognise and reward the incredibly valuable roles our colleagues in primary care do’.
A Norwegian study recently found that long-term continuity of GP care is ‘strongly associated’ with lower mortality and reduced need for acute hospitalisations and out-of-hours services.
And in 2020, a UK study concluded that GP practices that have grown in size over the last few years have been less able to accommodate patients in seeing their preferred GP.
Mr Hunt had already suggested in January, also during a committee hearing, that each GP should have their ‘own list of patients’. In response, health secretary Sajid Javid said it sounded like a ‘common-sense approach’. However he also said ‘I couldn’t make a guarantee that we can do that’.