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Video consultations touted as way forward for rural GPs

Think-piece proposes end to partner model of general practice

March 4th 2022

Tagged: political news Rurality England

By Ailsa Colquhoun

The “huge benefits” of video consultations in rural areas are among the evidence cited in a think-tank policy document proposing a new model of general practice.

Published by the Policy Exchange, A proposal to reform general practice and enable digital healthcare at scale proposes that GPs should become predominantly salaried and contracted by scaled providers (trusts, provider collaboratives, or large-scale primary care operators. Backed by a foreword by health secretary Sajid Javid, the document calls for a commitment to phase out the GMS Contract by the end of the decade.

To replace the current model of general practice, the document calls for better digital first-contact services, for example an NHS Gateway to provide ‘smart’ first contact primary care navigation.

The document notes that rural locations such as Devon, Cornwall and Somerset have been particularly adversely affected by GP closures.  A proposed solution to practices at risk is vertical integration, as exemplified by the integration of West Suffolk Hospital Trust and Glemsford Surgery in Sudbury.

Dispensing is not specifically mentioned in the document.