General practice is truly at a crossroads. It is facing many pressures and challenges but also opportunities.
The expectations for health care are changing from all points of view, including patients, policymakers, the NHS and GPs themselves. There is no shortage of analysis. It is knowing what to do next that matters.
Some people have expressed uncertainty about the future of general practice. Choices have to be made about the direction of health policy. There are those who believe that the profession does not have solutions to the problems that the health system is facing. The College believes that they are wrong.
This document – the product of intense deliberation and discussion – offers a vision for better patient care in the NHS. The RCGP believes that it is essential for GPs to put forward their own ideas for improving patient care. Sometimes we are so busy in our active day-to-day clinical work that it is hard to step back and consider strategic issues. But this is precisely what we have to do. This Roadmap can be used to challenge policymakers, and to support business cases for the development of services that build on the values we espouse here.
The status quo is not sustainable. Fragmentation of care, health inequalities and urgent care must be addressed. Furthermore, if we are to meet the health needs of patients over the coming years, we will need to bring about a radical change in the quality, organization and delivery of services.
Professor Mayur Lakhani CBE FRCP FRCGP
Chairman of Council
Dr Maureen Baker CBE DM FRCGP
Professor Steve Field FRCGP
Chairman-Elect of Council
Royal College of General Practitioners