London GPs call for funding for 24/7 community services

General practice in London needs 24/7 access to community support services for patients, the capital's GP representative body has warned.

Dr Michelle Drage: London community services should work around the clock (photo: Jason Heath Lancy)
Dr Michelle Drage: London community services should work around the clock (photo: Jason Heath Lancy)

In its new report, Meeting the Challenge, Londonwide LMCs called for commissioning and funding mechanisms to be made more flexible and refocused to provide better support for GPs and patients, and for commissioners to invest in community, social and diagnostic services.

The report, which follows Londonwide’s Securing the Future of General Practice, published last autumn, is being launched at a conference for GPs from across the capital today. 

Speaking exclusively to GP ahead of publication of the report, Londonwide’s chief executive Dr Michelle Drage said the document described what GPs could do concretely, on the ground, to begin to reshape the system around the needs of general practice and patients. It was about GPs ‘doing things for ourselves’, from the bottom up, she said.

The report set out practical solutions for GPs and LMCs to consider to deal with the ‘unrelenting pressures, chaos and uncertainty’ of the current health service.

Dr Drage said GPs had to create ‘facts on the ground’, working collaboratively to reshape general practice from below and encourage commissioners to invest.

Investment in better community services, the report said, would mean fewer GP consultations and unnecessary A&E admissions.

It called for practices and LMCs to work with CCGs and councils to develop locally commissioned services and identify ways to shift funding from secondary care. 

Elsewhere the report called for practices to work more closely together and build better relationships with other providers  Competition rules should be applied to encourage provider development, it said, and pump-prime funding could be key to provider development.

The report called for a ‘rebalancing of resources’ to enable more effective multidisciplinary working.

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