The NHS should put more focus on primary care during the economic instability and move away from its concentration on hospitals and secondary-care waiting times, according to the NHS Alliance.
Addressing the Westminster Health Forum, the group's chairman, Dr Michael Dixon (pictured), said ministers and the Department of Health needed to recognise the importance of primary care during the downturn.
"They need to work harder to re-engage frontline clinicians with the needs of the wider NHS," said Dr Dixon. "This will only happen if the government is prepared to loosen its grip to allow a greater degree of local accountability."
In order for the NHS to be sustainable, the NHS Alliance thinks that closer ties with the patient are necessary. It believes in less dependence on expensive technological care, while giving patients more influence over how a practice is run.
"McKinseys has estimated that 40% of patients don't need to be in hospital beds. So we need to ensure that secondary care is used appropriately," says Dr Dixon. "We can only achieve that if we focus on primary care as an alternative provider of medical services."