The RCGP urged clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to aim to create a coherent 24-hour, seven-day service with improved quality and safety and better value for the taxpayer.
It said CCGs must also move away from the ‘silo’ thinking about urgent and emergency care services towards a more integrated model.
Guidance for Commissioning Integrated Urgent and Emergency Care – A whole system approach said primary care must be improved in order to make a ‘real difference’ to the urgent care system.
It said: ‘It is essential that primary care is strengthened with redirected resources as well as new ways of working, for example more widespread use of telemedicine and telecare to free up capacity in the current system.’
Dr Agnelo Fernandes, report author and RCGP’s Centre for Commissioning clinical commissioning champion said CCGs should move away from the ‘disjointed and reactive’ approach to urgent care.
He said: ‘We now have an opportunity to take a fresh look at this whole pathway, to be genuinely proactive and provide a truly integrated health and social care response for our patients.’