DoH report backs incentivising practices to cut urgent care

Practices should receive financial incentives for cutting their patients' use of urgent care, according to the author of a DoH-sponsored report.

Breaking the mould without breaking the system, a report by the Primary Care Foundation, supported by the NHS Alliance and ‘originally sponsored’ by the DoH says urgent care is often complex and fragmented.

One of its authors, Primary Care Foundation director Rick Stern, said clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) should be able to develop a ‘clear vision and strategy’ for urgent care in their local area.

The report said CCGs should have the power to close unnecessary urgent care services and cut duplication.

It added that ‘patients should be free to choose how to access urgent care, but if the cost tracks back to the practice budget there is an incentive for the practice to deal with as many requests for urgent care as rapidly as possible’.

CCGs could offer financial incentives to practices that manage patients well and reduce their use of urgent care services, Mr Stern said. ‘It’s up to CCGs to work out what incentives there are for individual practices.’

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