Guest Editorial - UK ministers back 'invaluable' general practice

With all the recent furore over the Health Act in England, the unprecedented challenges and change confronting the different health services across the UK has gone largely unreported.

Dr Gerada: General practice is 'mission critical' to the future of the NHS
Dr Gerada: General practice is 'mission critical' to the future of the NHS

But the RCGP can never lose sight of the UK-wide picture or neglect the responsibilities it has to its members and patients.

General practice is 'mission critical' to the future of the NHS, particularly at a time when health services are being asked to deliver services more efficiently.

The chairs of the RCGP's councils in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and I recently wrote to the health ministers of all four countries calling for a UK-wide vision for the future of the NHS.

We called for a joined-up approach for the NHS, based on a set of 10 core underlying principles that build on the strengths of general practice.

Shared challenges
We identified shared challenges and specific solutions that could be tailored to each individual nation. We were delighted to receive a joint response from the UK governments.

It says: 'We have responded jointly as our respective governments have a common view on the importance of general practice to the health service and that we are each committed to developing a robust, high-quality system of primary care at the centre of our health service.

While we may have differences in approach as to how our health systems should operate, all are built on the foundation of strong, reliable and locally accessible general practice. It has an invaluable contribution to make in improving outcomes through more effective integrated care and management of patients.'

But what a great response - and what a great example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. We'll hold our ministers to their commitment and keep you posted on our progress, right across the UK.

Clare Gerada, RCGP chairwoman recommends

Click here for the RCGP resource centre

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