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RCGP responds to Health Select Committee report on urgent and emergency care

RCGP (The Royal College Of General Practitioners) : 25 July, 2013  (Company News)
The Royal College of General Practitioners says that the Health Select Committee's report moves the debate away from 'blaming' GPs and on to the real issue of getting more funding and resources into general practice to improve patient care.

Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of the RCGP, who contributed evidence to the Committee, said: "This report goes some way towards vindicating the hardworking GPs who are facing ever-increasing pressures with diminishing resources but who have borne the brunt of criticism for crises occurring in Emergency Departments across the NHS. We are grateful to the Committee for recognising that this is untrue and that general practice itself is in crisis and that we urgently need a fairer cut of NHS spending for our patients in our communities".

"The Committee has got its analysis of the root causes of the problems facing our urgent and emergency care services spot on. No one part of the system - hospital departments, GPs or ambulance services - is to blame but the overall fragmentation of the system is not serving the best interests of patients. We also agree that at present the evidence base around urgent and emergency care needs strengthening".

"We welcome the Committee's acknowledgement that a significant proportion of urgent care is delivered by GPs, and that the profession is currently under huge pressure. The Committee is right to call for more resources to be allocated to primary care in the long term - something RCGP has long been campaigning for. GPs are routinely working 11-hour days, sometimes making up to 60 patient contacts per day. This is not sustainable for the safety of our patients or the wellbeing of GPs".

"The College, along with the Patients Association, has already written to England Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, calling for an urgent summit to discuss how we can get more resources into primary care in a way that will benefit patients most".

"Patients don't want to have to call on urgent and emergency care services. They do so when they are at their most vulnerable and in need of help and so it is vital that all professionals in the NHS work together to deliver a more joined up approach for them".

"With this in mind, the RCGP is committed to working with NHS England and other partners to help develop, as the Committee recommends, innovative proposals for community-based urgent care services".

"This will require new models of primary care as explored in The 2022 GP, the RCGP's vision for the future of general practice in the NHS, and a 'whole system' approach to designing urgent and emergency care services, as outlined in guidance for commissioners that we published in 2011".

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