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Will the Better Care Fund benefit general practice?...

5 December 2014, GP Online

The Better Care Fund will pool £5bn in health and social care funding to boost integration of care. But are GPs outside CCG boardrooms aware of how it will work? 

 Wessex LMCs medical director Dr Gareth Bryant says involvement in BCF planning was 'significant' among GPs, particularly the areas dealing with intermediate care, access and seven-day working. But again, these were GPs already on CCGs, and awareness of the BCF outside already engaged commissioning GPs is low.

'I believe there is little understanding of the overall BCF and its potential importance among non-CCG GPs,' he says.

'Most welcome the step-up beds for intermediate care and the development of better integrated local teams, but are concerned about how this will become a reality.'

Dr Bryant says there was no anger among GPs over any specific aspects of the plans. But he adds: 'I don't believe the full implications are understood in the GP community, especially as the plan relies on a 3.75% reduction in emergency admissions.

'The plans for a shared record, "a single view of the customer", will be welcomed, but little detail has yet emerged into the GP community about this.

'The integrated teams, step-up beds and "discharge to assess" schemes are all likely to improve the patient experience, and hopefully quality of care, but there is little evidence that integrated care reduces emergency admissions enough to allow hospital trusts to restructure and decommission services.

'To do this, any reduction in emergency admissions would have to be sustainable in the long term.'

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Updated on 10 December 2014 1063 views