RCGP offers vision for the future

Extended GP consultations and continuity of care delivered via 'micro-teams' are key elements in a vision for the future of general practice.

The Royal College of General Practitioners has set out this vision in an extended report – Fit for Future. It states that by 2030, face-to-face GP consultations will be at least 15 minutes, or longer for patients with more complex needs. Research showed that the UK offers some of the shortest GP consultations amongst economically-advanced nations at 9.2 minutes.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: "It is abundantly clear that the standard 10-minute appointment is unfit for purpose. It's increasingly rare for a patient to present with a just single health condition, and we cannot deal with this adequately in 10 minutes.”

The report also predicts that continuity of care will be delivered via 'micro-teams' with a named GP and other members of a multi-disciplinary team, including nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, link workers, dieticians and health coaches. Vital health information will be available via personalised patient 'data dashboards', accessible by healthcare professionals across the NHS, drawing on data from the patient's genomic profile and wearable monitoring devices.

A greater use of AI will include improved triage systems that assess the severity of a patient's health needs, enhance diagnosis, flag 'at risk' patients, and safely identify the most appropriate care pathway.

The report also predicts that GPs will no longer work in isolation – practices will operate in networks or clusters, allowing them to pool resources and people, but facilitating smaller practices to retain their independence and patient lists.

Professor Stokes-Lampard continued: "Ours is an ambitious vision but it is not a pipe dream. Realising it will depend on having a sufficiently resourced service to keep people well and provide them with the care they need around the clock.”

The full report can be found here