Responding to the First Reading of the Health and Care Bill, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:
“The RCGP have long called for better integration of care across health systems and, while the aims of the Health & Care Bill introduced into Parliament today are a step in the right direction, the measure of success will be how the legislative changes are implemented. It's vital that the right balance is struck between providing a clear national framework to support integrated care, while remaining flexible enough to be shaped by local providers and patient populations.
“Successful integrated care relies on a strong and supported primary care sector. However, we must see increased investment in GP leadership and support staff to affect change at both community and system level. It is essential that GPs are at the heart of these reforms and are explicitly included in the clinical leadership of new structures.
“We also recognise that these reforms have been introduced at a time where general practice is experiencing immense workload and workforce pressures. Any system reform can only be successful if there is the workforce to deliver it. Transparent and coherent workforce planning, and accountability for delivering on workforce requirements, must therefore be a key consideration for government as the legislation moves forward.”
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