Responding to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care's announcement on his long term vision for NHS reform, Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Nigel Edwards said:
"Using choice of hospital and personalised budgets is a perfectly good policy and will help some patients get care that suits them better. But the big problems with offering people care tailored to their needs lie elsewhere.
"Above all, we need general practice to survive the immense pressure it faces and to be able to offer all the different types of patient who need it the right kind of care - be that a rapid telephone appointment, or a face-to-face chat with a GP they know. This is the bedrock of the NHS and the part we rely on to coordinate care around patients, but I am worried that it is in danger of failing.
"The Secretary of State will need to carefully incentivise general practice to work in bigger units and develop more administrative ability, making use of digital technology for patients able to use it and offering alternatives for those that can’t.
"This must be done without simply imposing a model from Whitehall that doesn't work for everyone. He will also need to avoid the urge to promise new targets for fast appointments which may further undermine the other tasks we need GPs to do."
Notes to editors
The Nuffield Trust is an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk.
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