A King’s Fund report on the future of community services, and how they can transform care, has recommended that the creation of teams of community staff built around groups of GP practices must be a key step if successive governments’ stated aim of shifting care out of hospitals and into the community is to be achieved.
The report says the teams, ideally based on practice premises, should cover a population of around 30,000 or more in rural areas, and between 50,000 and 120,000 in towns and cities.
GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said treating patients closer to their homes was part of a more personalised system of care that GPs should aspire to, particularly with older and more vulnerable patients.
But he warned that any reform must be underpinned by a planned approach that integrated a range of local services.
‘GP practices will need to be properly supported with resources for increased capacity and collaboration with other parts of the system in order for this to happen,’ he said.
‘GPs are more than willing to play a key role in this process, not least as general practice already delivers vital care to millions of patients in community settings.’
The King’s Fund report says high quality mental health services must be included in any community services teams, and that stronger links must be formed with hospital consultants such as geriatricians and paediatricians.