RCGP response to Future Hospital Commission report

Publication date: 12 September 2013

The RCGP has responded to the Future Hospital Commission report 'Future hospital: Caring for medical patients', released today.

Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of the RCGP, said: “The NHS does not start and end with hospitals. We must ensure that general practice - and its potential to transform the way we deliver care to patients -  is not neglected as the recommendations in this important document are debated and implemented.
“Taken with the RCGP’s own Commission on Generalism report, we hope that the report will strengthen and accelerate our call for major investment in general practice so that GPs can provide more services to patients in their communities and prevent people going to hospital apart from when it is absolutely necessary.
“Over 90% of patient contacts within the NHS in England are carried out by GPs - for only 9% of the NHS budget. We want to do more but we cannot do more without a fair share of NHS funding - including more GPs.
“GPs are ideally placed to deliver care to patients in the community, but we are already creaking under the weight of ever-increasing workloads and diminishing resources. As more care is delivered closer to home, we need to focus urgently on how we resource general practice to deal with this shift and ensure that the money follows the patient.
“We are delighted that the Future Hospital Commission report echoes the findings of our own Commission on Generalism in championing the role of the medical generalist - doctors who treat the whole person rather than specialising in any one area of medicine - to meet the challenges currently facing the NHS. 
“Our population is ageing and patients are increasingly presenting with complex and multiple conditions. Whilst the hospitals of the future will clearly continue to play a vital role as providers of specialist and emergency care, we agree with the Commission that we must move towards greater integration of primary, secondary, social and community care services. With more medical generalists, both in general practice and in hospitals, the current barriers between services will blur and eventually disappear.
“We hope that this report, and our own Commission on Generalism, will provide an essential blueprint that will shape the way care is provided to patients across the health service from the start to the end of their lives, in a way that keeps the NHS safe, sustainable and value for money.
“The RCGP looks forward to working together with the Future Hospital Commission and other healthcare partners, to explore how these recommendations can be implemented and how we can all work together more effectively to meet the needs of our patients in the future.”

Further Information

The RCGP Commission on Generalism's report 'Medical Generalism: Why expertise in whole person medicine matters' and subsequent impact report can be viewed here.

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

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 50,000 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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