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GP federations for better care

The RCGP is calling for the use of federations in the drive to raise the standard of patient care and has said that the politicians and doctors should be less concerned with investing in new buildings and NHS real estate

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is calling for the use of federations in the drive to raise the standard of patient care and has said that the politicians and doctors should be less concerned with investing in new buildings and NHS real estate.

A report, Primary care federations ñ putting patients first, published by the organisation says that a new approach could see old buildings put to better use and less money being spent on constructing new large healthcare centres. The RCGP expressed concern that the patient's voice is being forgotten in the wake of the current debate between the government and the British Medical Association over GP access, and Lord Darzi's recent review of the NHS.

According to the RCGP, the use of federations, in which generalists and specialists could work more closely together and pool resources, could prove an innovative and productive way to raise the standard of patient care. They could also help implement crucial improvements to GP services such as better access to doctors, services closer to patients' homes and health promotion.

Professor Steve Field, chairman of the RCGP, said that primary care federations could lead to GPs and their teams working in collaboration and co-operation rather than acting as competitive entities.

"It is time for the profession and the government to embrace a new way of working," he said.

"GPs are good at adapting to change and seizing opportunities for improvement. We can achieve more through GP practices working together than by individual practices working in isolation."

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) said that pharmacy should be included in any plans to integrate local healthcare services. Steve Churton, the society's president, said that primary care federations could deliver real benefits to patients if they offered opportunities for pharmacists to closer with GPs and other healthcare providers in the community.

"We would like to see opportunities for pharmacists to become full partners in federations," he said.

"Examples of closer working could include more opportunities for specialist pharmacists offering enhanced care for long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes."

27th June 2008

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