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New GP models must be trialled ‘urgently’, says Government report

New models of care, built around general practice, need to be urgently trialled across Wales, according to an independent expert panel set up to ensure the NHS is sustainable and able to meet rising demand.

Once tested, such schemes need to be ‘scaled up rapidly’ to speed up the way services adapt to meet the changing needs of the population, an interim report has found.

The review, which will feed into the NHS Wales strategy concludes that while there is a great deal of consensus about what needs to be done to get the NHS and social care working more efficiently, including moving more services into the community, there is less clarity on how that will be achieved.

The panel, which will publish the final report at the end of 2017, also concluded the public and clinicians need to have a greater say in how services are organised.

It will require better use of technology as well as streamlined governance, finance and accountability arrangements, the report said.

And models of care will have to be developed differently for rural and urban areas, it recommended.

A final report is due at the end of this year.

Health minister Vaughan Gething, who commissioned the review said without effective action to reduce cost pressures, increase efficiency or reduce demand NHS spending in Wales will need to rise by an average of 3.2% a year in real terms to 2030/31 to keep pace.

Dr Phil Banfield chair of BMA Welsh Council, said they particularly welcomed ‘the recognition that the pace of change needs to escalate’.

He added they also agreed ‘that further consideration needs to be given to the ways professionals and clinicians are empowered to innovate and lead significant new models of care’.

RCGP Wales chair Dr Rebecca Payne, said: ‘Building on the existing strengths of general practice and developing new models of care will allow our healthcare services to adapt, meeting the changing needs of our population across rural and urban settings.’

She added general practice must be strengthened and the GP shortage tackled if more services are to be delivered within the community. 

The Welsh initiatives follows NHS England’s plans, first set out in the 2014 Five Year Forward View, for GP practices working together at scale and alongside community services and secondary care professionals in multidisciplinary teams.