Association for Prescribers

Primary care ‘no longer fit for purpose’ as House of Lords calls for overhaul
Primary care as it stands is ‘no longer fit for purpose’ and needs an extensive rethink, according to a comprehensive report on NHS sustainability by the House of Lords.

The NHS said in its Five Year Forward View, published in 2014, that primary care would remain ‘the foundation of NHS care’, but the Lords wrote in their Long-term Sustainability of the NHS report – published 5 April – that they received evidence of pressures within primary care which impacted several other parts of the healthcare system.

Despite an increase in demand for primary and GP care, investment in general practice has fallen from 10.7% of overall budget in 2005/06 to 8.4% in 2011/12 – a record low.

It was found there were 2.7 full time equivalent practice nurses for every 10,000 patients in England in 2014/15. This was the same ratio as 2010/11, meaning there are fewer nurses for the country’s growing population.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) welcomed the Lords’ report, citing is criticism of the ‘over-burdensome regulation’ from the nine main professional regulators, such as the NMC, which it said requires ‘urgent reform’.

Chief executive and registrar for the NMC Jackie Smith said: ‘I have long maintained the NMC’s legislation is out of date and in need of major change to help us become a modern, dynamic regulator.

‘It is vital that the government pushes ahead with establishing a shared vision for future regulation.’

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