The NHS Alliance welcomes the Secretary of State’s decision to bring primary, social and community care representatives together to discuss and develop the vulnerable older people’s plan. We are entirely supportive of the Secretary of State’s plans to introduce a named doctor, the need for more joined up working between the three sectors, and for there to be better access to patient records. We are also pleased to see that the Mr Hunt is moving from focusing on the disease agenda to the patient agenda, looking at the whole patient’s needs and emphasising the importance of continuity of care.
The NHS Alliance has been advocating for some time that primary care is the answer, most notably in our manifesto for primary care, and we are pleased that Mr Hunt also perceives general practice and primary care to be the solution, rather than the problem.
However, if we are going to deliver this new, patient focused agenda we will need to reinvigorate primary care. There will have to be greater resource in general practice, with, as Mr Hunt has acknowledged, at least 50% of doctors becoming GPs, and we will need to prioritise what’s important, ensuring that we stop doing the unnecessary tasks such as QOF ‘tick-boxing’, and instead really focus on whole person care.