RCGP Blueprint for general practice in the future

The Royal College of GPs has launched a blueprint for general practice. Here is an outline below. You can download the document here  RCGP Blueprint Doc

Over the next five years the Government has an opportunity to put the NHS in England on a more sustainable footing, with a strengthened general practice providing the best possible care to patients and leading the development of new integrated services. However, given the immediate pressures on GP surgeries, it is vital that the Government moves to shore the service up in the coming months, particularly to ensure that general practice does not go into meltdown over the winter period. This document sets out urgent and medium- to long-term measures that must be implemented to secure vital improvements to general practice. The Five Year Forward View1 recently made the case for a ‘new deal’ for general practice, as part of its vision for an NHS better able to prevent and manage ill health closer to people’s homes, and keep them out of hospital wherever possible.

This document sets out a comprehensive plan for how the Government — working with NHS England, Health Education England, the College and others — can deliver on this new deal by 2020. Although it specifically addresses the need to build the new deal for general practice in England, the majority of its themes are of relevance to general practice in all four nations of the UK. The scale of the challenge is huge. England’s GP practices are under massive strain, providing an estimated 370m consultations every year to a growing and ageing population — more than 60m more than they were five years ago. General practice has faced real terms budget cuts for the last four years, and has been given a shrinking proportion of the NHS budget for over a decade — down to just 8.4% in England despite providing 90% of patient contacts. There are simply not enough GPs and other primary care staff to cope with rising demand — with recent years seeing a fall in the number of GPs per patient. The RCGP has estimated that there is a current shortfall of around 3,300 GPs in England, and that an additional 8,000 full time equivalent (FTE) GPs will be needed by 2020 to close this gap and ensure general practice can lead the process of transforming services for patients. A large proportion of the current GP workforce — more than one in five — are aged over 55 and likely to retire in the next few years. This situation can and must be turned around. General practice remains the bedrock of patient care in the NHS, and with the right support and adequate resources, GPs can continue to underpin the delivery of an effective, equitable health service and lead the process of ensuring it better meets the needs of patients in the 21st century. Our plan identifies five overarching actions that need to be taken — all of which will support the vision set out in the Five Year Forward View and strengthen the NHS for the future.

RCGP Blueprint