The Government has published a new blueprint to help recover primary care services, to improve access to care, better support patients to manage their own health and modernise general practice for the future.
The Primary Care Recovery Plan sets out actions that will mean millions of patients will access faster care for their health needs from their local pharmacy and GP surgery.
The plan includes investing the equivalent of £35,000 per practice to provide new technology for GPs, to make it easier to get through and get a response on the same day. The Government will invest in better phone systems, so people don’t get engaged tones, and invest in easier digital access so that many more issues can be dealt with online, freeing up phone lines for those who need to call.
An additional £645 million will be invested to enable pharmacists to provide treatment for common conditions. Pharmacists will be able to supply prescription-only medicines for ear pain, severe sore throat, skin infections and urinary infections.
Furthermore, around £37,000 per practice will be freed up through cutting back targets, improving communication between GPs and hospitals, and reducing GPs having to do work that non-GPs can do. Patients will also now be able to self-refer for some services, including physiotherapy, hearing tests, and podiatry, without seeing their GP first.
Finally, the Government will ensure that we have an extra 26,000 clinicians and 50 million extra appointments by March 2024. The forthcoming NHS workforce plan will set out plans to expand GP training. We’re helping retain senior GPs by reforming pension rules, lifting 8,900 GPs out of annual tax charges. Tens of thousands more people will be at lower risk of a heart attack or stroke, with the NHS more than doubling the number of people able to access blood pressure checks in their local pharmacy – 2.5 million, up from 900,000 carried out last year.
The actions set out in this plan are expected to free up around 15 million GP appointments over the next two years for patients who need them most and support primary care services to continue to adapt and innovate.
The Primary Care Recovery Plan announced earlier this week will make it quicker and easier to get GP appointments when you need them.
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— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) May 14, 2023
This article was first published in The Forester newspaper.