The GPC has offered the Government a blueprint of the ‘new future for general practice’, in which GP practices will work in federations or super-practices in return for ‘proper funding and support’.
In a report unveiled today, the BMA suggests all GP practices either federate into larger networks or build ‘super practices’ that can offer a range of career options to GPs as well as hire other staff such as pharmacists, physician associates and consultants.
The BMA report suggests general practice is at a ‘crossroads’ and a range of things have to urgently happen in order to save it.
It called on the Government to stop handing ‘piecemeal’ funding to select groups, through schemes such as the PM’s ’Challenge Fund’, and NHS England’s fund for GPs to establish ‘new models of care’.
Instead, it calls on the DH to up enough investment to support all GP practices to build federations or larger practices now.
GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul told Pulse the report is aimed at the Department of Health as well as NHS England, but could also act as a blueprint for CCGs around the country and send a message about the future of general practice to new potential GP recruitss.
The report suggests the way forward is for GP practices to form ’larger practices based on a partnership structure with the opportunity for salaried GP employment’, which in turn ’should also come together to create GP networks’ – similar to those described in the NHS England Five Year Forward View.
The report said: ’Irrespective of all other arrangements, the average practice is getting bigger. The size of a practice will reflect the size of the community it serves, but… practices should be large enough to offer a full range of services and have a large enough workforce to be able to deliver these services in a sustainable way.’
However in return for delivering more services, the GPC wants the DH and NHS England to:
- commit to increasing general practice funding year-on-year;
- launch a new national self-care campaign aimed at patients to reduce inappropriate demand on GP practices;
- and create a long-term infrastructure fund to upgrade GP premises and technology.
Dr Nagpaul said the GPC is sending the message that general practice is now ready for the investment promised in the NHS Five Year View.
He said: ’This is not a magic bullet but a framework made up of multiple facets which will cost money. The Government has made promises of investment in general practice.
’What we are saying is that politicians must be held to account and to deliver that investment so that general practice across the country is given proper funding and support to have a sustainable future.’
It comes as the largest GP practice in the country is currently being formed to cover 100,000 patients in the East Midlands and as practice list sizes have been growing by ‘25%’ in some areas.
Responding to the GPC’s report, the DH said that ‘many of the recommendations the BMA is calling for are already happening’.