GPs urged to integrate services

GPs should use their commissioning role to integrate both primary and secondary care and NHS and social care services, a King's Fund report says.

The report said GP commissioning could be used as a platform on which to build integration. It comes as health minister Simon Burns championed integrated care, outlining that service delivery needs to be ‘as efficient as possible’.

The King’s Fund report, Clinical and service integration: the route to improved outcomes, said powers to ‘make as well as buy’ services would put GP commissioners at the front line of integrated care.

Professor Chris Ham, the think tank’s chief executive and lead author of the report, said: ‘While there is no doubt that it will be challenging to make sure that competition and integration work alongside each other to deliver the right benefits for patients, it should not prove an impossible task. Both have an important role to play in the new system.’

At the King’s Fund annual conference last week, health minister Simon Burns said service delivery must be as ‘efficient as possible’.

He suggested GP consortia could design and negotiate integrated contracts. ‘Maybe it’s only one person sick, but they have multiple NHS organisations to deal with,' he said. 'Is this really the best way of doing things? I hope you’ll agree the current situation is not.’

NHS White Paper 2010 - news and analysis

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