General practice is widely recognised to be the foundation on which NHS care is based. International studies have shown general practice in the United Kingdom in a positive light and most patients report high levels of satisfaction with the services they receive from general practitioners (GPs). There is also evidence of variations in the quality of general practice, and increasing recognition that primary care will have to change to meet the needs of the population now and in the future.
This paper describes the current system of commissioning and funding general practice and how this is being used in four areas of England to develop innovative models of primary care provision. The current system contains a range of freedoms and flexibilities and these are enabling general practices to provide a wider range of services and to raise standards of care. This is leading to greater collaboration between practices and the emergence of federations and networks operating on a larger scale than has traditionally been the case.
See the report at The King’s Fund.