On Thursday 5th February, MPs will debate the current pressure on general practice, and options for addressing it. This short briefing pulls together key findings from our work. It examines funding and workforce difficulties, explores possible effects on patient care and A&E, and makes recommendations for the future.
General practice plays a crucial and distinctive role in the NHS, and is set to become even more central as care outside hospital grows in importance. But with funding tight and not enough doctors in training, there are serious concerns about how well GPs are coping. Many MPs will have heard from constituents concerned by this issue, while others will want to discuss whether we are seeing its implications in wider difficulties facing the NHS.
This briefing summarises Nuffield Trust research answering several key questions in this debate, highlighting where data is lacking, and describing how general practice must work in the future. It gives key figures on the significant if sometimes exaggerated squeeze on the money and staff available to general practice, and the effect this has had on patient access and satisfaction.
The briefing also looks at the effect GP services have on use of A&E, and the views of our panel of 100 health and social care leaders on this sector. It ends by advocating both increased funding and the development of larger scale general practices which work closely with the wider NHS, managing patients better and meeting more complex needs.
Nuffield Trust (2015) Parliamentary briefing: building sustainable GP services.