We have responded to NHS England and NHS Improvement’s consultation on digital-first primary care policy, which focuses on patient registration, funding and contracting rules. Our response was informed by engagement with our members and Board.
Our response raises the following points:
- Clinical commissioners fully support the right of patients to have access to a digital primary care as envisaged in the Long-Term Plan for the NHS.
- Our members have raised concerns that the approach outlined in this consultation does not do enough to help deliver and expand digital primary care from existing primary care providers. We encourage more communication from the centre about the entirety of the digital support offer and plans to achieve it.
- We believe there should be ongoing monitoring and evaluation of these proposals – this is a live area where solutions may need to be revisited.
- We have also seen suggestions that digital-first primary care should not be viewed as a replacement to ‘traditional’ general practice, but another component, like the 111 service. This would therefore mean digital-first primary care providers would not be eligible for a registered patient list. We understand that this would be difficult to achieve given there are already contracts and registered patients in place, and that a solution for the existing situation does need to be found.
- We also note the wider challenges listed in the consultation – namely that having a digital-first primary care provider which is not geographically based where patients live can impact on integration efforts. Yet these proposals do not attempt to tackle these.
Download the full consultation response to read more.
23 August 2019