Skip to main content

Primary care in England: an era of austerity

General practitioners (GPs) in England are currently facing perhaps their most challenging financial circumstances since the NHS was founded in 1948. In an editorial published in the British Journal of General Practice, I discuss these the very difficult financial environment that general practitioners find themselves in. GPs will find themselves caught between the priorities of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and the NHS Commissioning Board; with CCGs requiring ever greater efficiencies in the use of secondary care services; and the NHS Commissioning Board demanding more ‘value for money’ from general practice contracts.

A strong primary care sector has allowed the NHS to make efficient use of resources, through the gatekeeping role that GPs have in controlling access to specialist services, and through the wide range of medical, social, and psychological problems that GPs and their teams manage through a mix of person-based and population-centred care. The impact of cuts in primary care spending on health inequities will be particularly important to monitor as increased resources for primary care preferentially improve health status and access to health care in more socially disadvantaged populations.

The NHS has always prided itself on the access to care it has given to the most socioeconomically deprived groups of the population, and this is a focus it should continue to retain even in the current, very difficult, financial circumstances that the NHS is experiencing.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Improving discharge planning in NHS hospitals

Factors that need to be considered in discharge planning that have been identified in previous projects include:

Ensuring that discharge arrangements are discussed with patients, family members and carers; and that they are given a copy of the discharge summary.Adequate coordination between the hospital, community health services, general practices, and the providers of social care services.There is a follow-up after discharge of patients at high risk of complications or readmission - either in person or by telephone - to ensure that the discharge arrangements are working well. Medicines reconciliation is carried out. This is the process of verifying patient medication lists at a point-of-care transition, such as hospital discharge, to identify which medications have been added, discontinued, or changed from pre-admission medication lists.Ensuring that any outstanding test results at discharge are obtained and passed on to primary care teams; and ensuring there are clear arrangements …

Can GPs issue private prescriptions to NHS patients?

The NHS prescription charge in England is currently £8.40 per item. At this level, many commonly prescribed drugs will cost less than the prescription charge and so some NHS patients may occasionally ask if they can have a private prescription rather than an NHS prescription.

In the past, some GPs have been advised that they could issue both an NHS FP10 and a private prescription, and let the patient decide which to use. But the British Medical Association's General Practice Committee has obtained legal advice that said under the current primary care contract, GPs in England may not issue a private prescription alongside or as an alternative to an NHS FP10 prescription. In any consultation where a GP needs to issue an FP10, the concurrent issue of a private prescription would be a breach of NHS regulations.

The issuing of a private prescription in such circumstances could also be seen as an attempt to deprive the NHS of the funds it would receive from the prescription charge. Fur…

What impact will Brexit have on the UK's life sciences sector?

On Thursday 3 November 2016, I spoke at a seminar at the Imperial College Business School on the topic of the impact of Brexit on the UK's life sciences sector (the NHS, universities, and pharmaceutical and biomedical companies). I emphasised the important role played in the life sciences sector by EU-trained professionals and the need to ensure that the UK continued to attract highly-qualified professionals to work, for example, in our National Health Service. I also discussed the need to increase spending on research and development to ensure that the UK remained a world leader in the biomedical industry. The other speakers at the seminar were Andrew Lansley (former Secretary of State for Health) and Richard Phillips (Director of Healthcare Policy at the Association of British Healthcare industries). The event was chaired by Andrew Brown. A copy of my talk can be viewed on Slideshare.