Royal College of GPs says collaborative working needs funding changes

Collaborative working in GP practices, including new arrangements with physiotherapists working alongside GPs, needs ‘buy in’ from local commissioners, providers and health authorities which can be difficult to achieve, says a report by the Royal College of General Practitioners.


CSP policy chief Rachel Newton: the lion's share of NHS funding is still going to acute care

The college has serious concerns about the ability of legislation to deliver the change needed so that multi-disciplinary teams can operate effectively in primary care.

‘Longstanding issues must be resolved, with legislation and funding levels built around the aspirations of GPs and the wider health service to provide long-term collaborative care that patients need,’ it says.

The CSP’s head of policy Rachel Newton said the college was ‘absolutely right’ that successfully redesigning primary care depends on proper funding. ‘The proportion of health funding spent on primary care is out of balance, with the lion’s share continuing to go to the acute sector,’ she said.

The report points out that many patients seen in general practice have multiple co-existing conditions. To give these patients the care they need, the NHS must move away from the management of single conditions.

‘This requires concurrent and integrated treatment by a number of different disciplines, with the GP as the expert medical generalist at the centre of the process,’ it says.

One way to deliver integrated care, according to the report, is to create a new organisation with joint working at its core. The new organisation would operate alongside ‘traditionally provided services’ so that barriers to integrated working would be ‘designed out’.

Ms Newton added: ‘Vitally important too is investment of time – which also means money – to develop new roles, redesign services, train the workforce and build partnerships across sectors.’

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