The future of the NHS is likely to depend on the future of general practice, says Professor Roger Jones, Wolfson Professor of General Practice at King's College London, in an editorial in this month's British Journal of General Practice (BJGP).
Professor Jones was commenting on the current Darzi review of the NHS and his recent report into healthcare in London, which touched on the idea of large centralised clinics in the capital.
Professor Jones notes that details of these suggested clinics have yet to be released but urges that the experience of GPs who contain costs in the NHS largely through their gatekeeping role must not be underestimated.
"It is essential that first contact care is provided by trained primary care physicians," writes Professor Jones, who also notes that "well-functioning primary healthcare teams cannot simply be taken off the shelf".
Professor Jones' comments echo the recommendations in the Royal College of General Practitioners' (RCGP) recently launched document The Future Direction of General Practice: A Roadmap, which cautions against the development of larger clinics, instead advocating a new model of care which would see federations of GP practices working in partnership to provide more patient services closer to their homes.
Professor Jones' editorial, Dismantling general practice, can be found in the November issue of the BJGP.