The growing shortage of GPs combined with the changing needs of patients could prompt a major restructuring of primary care, NHS England’s deputy medical director has said.
At an event in central London, Dr Mike Bewick said that the need to provide services at scale mean it is now time to take action.
The former GP said: “This is the time when we actually have to say what we are going to do. I’m going to say two things that I think are going to be true.
“One is that in ten years’ time the term independent contractor will be anachronistic, and probably it’ll be done. The second is that we will not talk about primary care, we will talk about out-of-hospital providers.”
Dr Bewick said that the partnership model of general practice will be impacted because of the lack of new GPs being trained.
He said that more than 50% of doctors are salaried in primary care, but in the future there will be a “force majeure” away from the partnership model because it “will not serve them”.
Speaking at the Westminster Health Forum, Dr Bewick said: “I do not believe that the current organisational structure of primary care is sustainable or, increasingly, desirable.
“I do believe that in the end, the whole of the out-of-hospital service needs to come together to form a more integrated service.”