Exclusive: RCGP unveils vision for general practice

The RCGP has launched a new model of primary care to help counter the damaging effects of market-led reforms.

Professor Lakhani
Professor Lakhani

College leaders called for practices to work together in 'federations' and reinvigorate the tradition of 'personal doctoring'.

The document, called 'The Future Direction of General Practice', sets out a vision in which practice-based care is provided by expanded but better-integrated teams, led by generalists, with the doctor-patient relationship as the 'cornerstone'.

By working together, the college believes that the federations will eventually be able to deal with virtually all health problems, including mental health, and take over many of the functions of primary care organisations.

The document states: 'This federated model of general practice, championed and led by GPs, is essential to counter the challenges of a market approach in the NHS.

'A one-size-fits-all model is not recommended or possible.'

RCGP chairman Professor Mayur Lakhani said: 'This is the comeback of personal doctoring. People do not want supermarket GPs. Health is a very special and sensitive thing and people want personal attention. The idea of patients registering with A&E shows that policymakers do not understand the value of personal care.'

Professor Lakhani said the document set out a 'road map' towards achieving the college's vision, but that the aim was to provide a framework within which local GP groups could take their own route.

'There is no specified size or model. We want an organic approach. They can co-operate informally, or form a legal entity. GPs need to think of themselves as part of a movement, a force for good,' he said.

Last week Professor Lakhani argued in The Times newspaper that GPs deserved their levels of pay. But he said that the profession could not allow itself to be seen as complacent.

He told GP: 'The future is bright for general practice but we must embrace new and modern ideas. We want to be a progressive, dynamic profession.'

All the main GP organisations have backed the document, which has not yet been seen by the DoH.

Chairman of the NHS Alliance Dr Mike Dixon said: 'If general practice is allowed to develop along the lines suggested, its increasing self-confidence and cost-effectiveness will play a major part in enabling "the primary-care-led NHS" to fulfil its true potential as a sustainable world-class service.'

The full document is available to download at the college website, www.rcgp.org.uk.

  • Organic growth of federations of practices.
  • More strategic, coherent primary care, led by GPs.
  • Core values of patient care and clinical professionalism.
  • Partnerships with patients, self-care and empowerment.
  • Stronger, integrated teams, highly qualified managers.
  • Quality initiatives to drive professional standards.
  • More support services and direct access to diagnostics.
  • Leadership programmes to increase the influence of GPs.

To see our exclusive interview please see - 'The future is brighter for GPs '.

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