RCGP response to Fuller Stocktake on integrating primary care

Responding to ‘Next steps for integrating primary care: Fuller Stocktake report’ published today.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Today's report is appropriately ambitious given the scale of the crisis in general practice. It shares a number of key aspirations with the College about the future of general practice, and how general practice fits within the new ICS structures and the wider NHS – and the College looks forward to working with partners to help make it a reality. It's reassuring that this report is GP-led and is the product of engagement with many frontline GPs and their teams, as well as with patients who use GP services.

"The report outlines a direction of travel that the College has long advocated. This is with GPs providing system leadership, supported to work within integrated multi-disciplinary health and care teams to ensure patients receive appropriate and timely care for their health needs. And, to provide continuity of care for those who need it most. There is also an important focus on improving the health of communities and on preventing illness.

"Delivering this vision, as the report recognises, will depend on progress being made to expand the general practice workforce. It also depends on providing the resources to ensure that GPs and our teams are working in premises that are modernised, digitally-enabled and have the space to accommodate an expanded workforce and diagnostics in the community. To this end, we are encouraged by the recommendation for flexible funding and more support to integrate the new ARRS roles in primary care. The explicit support of the new chief executives of the ICSs for the report is positive, as is the emphasis on changing the long-established tendency to micro-management of frontline services from the centre. ICS leaders have a significant responsibility to ensure that general practice and primary care receive the support and resources that they need to be the foundation of a reformed NHS.

“We need further detail about the proposals around streamlining urgent access. Any new metrics will need to be thought through carefully so they have a positive impact on patient care, and avoid any duplication or perverse incentives across the system. Addressing workforce and workload pressures, improving staff morale and investing in support for change will be particularly key to achieving the report’s aspirations.”

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 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.