RCGP urges practices to unite to improve services

Practices should band together in social enterprises or charities in order to improve services and save money, according to the RCGP.

In a report out this week, 'Primary Care Federations - putting patients first', the RCGP recommends that practices should create federations with formal legal structures and written constitutions. This will allow them to share services, improve access, deliver economies of scale, and place more emphasis on public health, it argues.

The report comes a week before health minister Lord Darzi publishes his review of the NHS.

But Dr James Kingsland, National Association of Primary Care chairman and an adviser to the Darzi Review, said that the review's Primary Care Strategy would not endorse the federated practice model. Instead it would send a 'very strong signal' that practices should use their commissioning powers to take control of primary care.

'Polyclinics are of little, if any, importance to the Primary Care Strategy,' he said. 'It's about how we break down the barriers.'

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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