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NHS Confederation comments on King’s fund report on general practice

NHS Confederation acting chief executive Nigel Edwards says improving primary care and GP services is one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS.

Commenting on the King’s Fund report on general practice, NHS Confederation acting chief executive Nigel Edwards, said:

“Improving primary care and GP services is one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS.

“Much of the care delivered by GPs is excellent, and primary care generally remains one of the great strengths of our healthcare system. However until now, we have had little information about the variability of GP performance. This report highlights the need to address the major variations in the standards of care patients are receiving.

“The health service has shone a light on the performance most other parts of the system but has not done so with general practice.

“The introduction of a national process to compare general practice standards would be a major step in addressing this issue. Not only would it empower patients to compare the standard of care they are getting, but it would help drive down variation in diagnosis, referrals and prescriptions, all of which are central to saving lives.

“There is uncertainty with the NHS reforms about how GP performance will be managed. One of the big tests for the NHS reforms is whether the best GPs will be willing and able to get to grips with those who are performing less well and whether they will have the tools to do so. The Government needs to clearly demonstrate how its reform programme will achieve this improvement.”

Notes to Editors

1. The NHS Confederation represents more than 95% of the organisations that make up the NHS. Its members include the majority of NHS acute trusts, ambulance trusts, foundation trusts, mental health trusts, primary care trusts, independent providers of NHS services, special health authorities and strategic health authorities in England; trusts and local health boards in Wales; and health and social service trusts and boards in Northern Ireland.

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