Fairer investment needed for general practice 'to keep NHS sustainable'

Publication date: 20 June 2013

Major investment is needed in general practice in order to keep the NHS sustainable and to ensure it provides value for money, whilst ensuring safe patient care. This is the call from the Royal College of GPs today, as it launches its vision for the future of general practice.

The 2022 GP – A Vision for General Practice in the future NHS examines the pivotal role of general practice in a world in which patients will rely more than ever on the skill and compassion of their GP. Developed following extensive consultation with RCGP members, professional bodies and patient groups, it looks forward to a future in which GPs work in new ways to meet growing need and complexity whilst improving patient care and access to GP services.

Enabling this vision will require a major shift in spending into general practice to address the current imbalance in funding, which sees GPs providing 90% of NHS care for only 9% of the NHS budget. This includes increasing the number of GPs by at least 10,000 across the UK, and investment in practice premises to allow more care to be provided in the community. 

The 2022 GP cautions that only with added investment in general practice will GPs be able to move from an outdated 20th century model of fragmented primary and secondary, health and social care to a modern and efficient 21st century model of integrated 'person-centred' care, based within local communities.

Chair of the RCGP Dr Clare Gerada, said: “The NHS is changing, general practice is changing, patients are living longer with long term and multiple conditions, and health inequalities are growing, so we must step up and meet the challenges ahead. 

“This vision outlines ways in which to provide easier access to a more flexible and integrated system of primary care that will benefit our patients immensely. It maps out a way for patients to receive the best possible care in and out of hours from the start to the end of their lives.

“As GPs change, so must the role of patients and so it is important to promote healthy lifestyles, increase health literacy and encourage self-care as we move forward with limited resources and increasing demand for services.”

She added: “Most importantly, none of this vision will become reality if we do not receive fairer investment for general practice. If GPs, who do 90% of NHS work for 9% of the budget, are not properly funded then much of this new vision will not be achievable.

"Innovation and reform are vital but must be underpinned by investment. The Government must recognise that general practice is the most cost effective way of providing care and act accordingly, by urgently reversing the real terms decline in the amount of money that general practice receives.“


Further Information

The 2022 GP: A Vision for General Practice in the future NHS and The 2022 GP: Compendium of evidence, are both available online.

RCGP Press office - 020 3188 7574/7575/7576
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 46,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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