Responding to the Fuller Review, Dr Rebecca Fisher, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation, said:
‘Fuller sets a welcome vision for integrated primary care. But the reality is that core general practice is in desperate need of support that was never within Fuller’s remit.
‘The introduction of Primary Care Networks (PCNs), the dissolution of Clinical Commissioning Groups and the creation of Integrated Care Systems haves understandably created uncertainty for those working in general practice. The Fuller Stocktake provides a vision for how primary care can set up neighbourhood teams to meet the varying needs of patients, including faster same-day care for people with one-off problems, and improved care for those with long term conditions who need to see someone who knows them. Core to this is the need to support better collaboration between PCNs and social care, particularly in supporting care in people’s homes.
‘But with general practice facing unprecedented pressures to meet rising demand for services, Fuller’s recommendations will do little to improve the immediate issues that are putting pressure on general practice. Finding ways to increase investment in general practice was never within the scope of the Fuller Stocktake. Ultimately that will prove a limitation.
‘The biggest challenge facing general practice is a shortage of GPs. This is even more severe in more deprived areas. Fuller rightly argues that this new vision for primary care depends on national action to increase the number of GPs and other staff, and boost investment in buildings and data. General practice urgently needs a review of how funding is shared across practices, more investment to support infrastructure and premises, and a comprehensive workforce plan.’
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