Primary care needs be recognised as having a leading role during the recession and the NHS should shift its focus away from expensive technological care and hospital and secondary care waiting times, the NHS Alliance has said.
Dr Michael Dixon, chairman of the Alliance, told Westminster Health Forum that the government and the Department of Health are not doing enough to move care closer to the patient.
He said: "They need to work harder to re-engage frontline clinicians with the needs of the wider NHS, which go way beyond individual consultations with their patients.
"This will only happen if the government is prepared to loosen its grip to allow a greater degree of local accountability. Also, by encouraging local co-ownership, with patients as friendly critics, co-commissioners and co-providers will be able to work together to create a local health services that is much better suited to the needs of the local population."
Dr Dixon said: "McKinseys has estimated that 40% of patients don't need to be in hospital beds, so we need to ensure that secondary care is used appropriately. We can only achieve that if we focus on primary care as an alternative provider of medical services."
"Not enough is being done to promote, let alone focus on, this area of good healthcare. As this is not an initiative that will win votes, primary care as I see it will not make an impact on the government's health agenda" - V Henry, London