The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) Centre for Commissioning has published guidance for commissioners of urgent and emergency care services.
Under the NHS reforms, new GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England will be responsible for commissioning these services in their localities.
The RCGP guidance, written by Dr Agnelo Fernandes, the college's lead for urgent care, draws on evidence to guide commissioners in effectively reviewing and redesigning local urgent and emergency care services.
It aims to help commissioners, which will include clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to take a strategic approach, which is patient-centred and focused on improving clinical outcomes.
"In the past, the commissioning of urgent and emergency care services was often disjointed and reactive in its approach – we now have an opportunity to take a fresh look at this whole pathway, to be genuinely proactive and provide a truly integrated health and social care response for our patients," said Fernandes.
"I have worked with a wide range of professionals from right across the urgent and emergency care and related fields in the development of this guide, which is a valuable reference point for approaching the commissioning of these extremely important services."