In an update on the urgent and emergency care review, national clinical director for urgent care Professor Jonathan Benger said NHS England had drawn up plans for two types of urgent care networks - strategic and operational - that will pull together urgent care services.
Professor Benger added that primary care ‘evolution’ was imperative to change urgent care.
‘GPs will play a pivotal role in the new system, and significant changes in this area must precede an overhaul in secondary care. If the provision of primary and community services is not addressed, secondary care transformation will never realise its true potential.’
A spokesman for NHS England confirmed that GP out-of-hours providers would be linked into the networks but would continue to be commissioned by either practices or CCGs.
Strategic networks will commission and co-ordinate urgent and emergency care across large areas.
Smaller operational networks will ‘facilitate clinical interactions on a more local level, bridging the gaps between primary and secondary care’, said Professor Benger.
‘What we are talking about here are communities of clinicians who are working together to get the best outcomes for patients, and ensure services are provided in the most appropriate and effective way.’
‘Under the newly proposed system, strategic urgent care networks will designate two types of emergency receiving hospital: emergency centres and major (or specialist) emergency centres.’