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General Practitioners

Question for Department of Health

UIN 52112, tabled on 7 November 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent steps his Department has taken to increase the amount of face time between GPs and patients.

Answered on

17 November 2016

The Government is committed to improving access to general practitioner (GP) services. Additional funding of over £500 million by 2020/21 will provide extra capacity across England, meaning that by 2020, everyone will have access to GP appointments, including sufficient routine GP appointments, at evenings and weekends to meet locally determined demand, alongside effective access to other primary care and GP services such as urgent care services.

On 21 April 2016, NHS England published the General Practice Forward View, a package of support to help get general practice back on its feet, improve patient care and access, and invest in new ways of providing primary care. The General Practice Forward View sets out that we are investing a minimum extra £2.4 billion a year for general practice services by 2020/21 – this represents a 14% increase in real terms. The overall investment for general practice includes a one off sustainability and transformation package of £500 million national 'turnaround' package to support GP practices over five years.

As part of the General Practice Forward View, there are plans to grow the medical workforce to create an extra 5,000 additional doctors working in general practice by 2020/21. This will include increasing general practitioner training recruitment, a major national and international recruitment campaign, bursaries and post-certificate of completion of training fellowships in hard to recruit areas, and encouraging GPs back into general practice.

There is also a commitment to a minimum of 5,000 other staff working in general practice by 2020/21. This will include investment in an extra 3,000 mental health therapists for long-term physical conditions and investment to pilot and then extend clinical pharmacists in NHS111 hubs. There will be £15 million investment in a general practice nurse development strategy and to support the training of reception and clerical staff, practice manager development and multi-disciplinary training hubs. In addition there will be introduction of a new Pharmacy Integration Fund, pilots of new medical assistant roles to support doctors and investment by Health Education England in the training of 1,000 physician associates to support general practice.

There will also be a major £30 million ‘Releasing Time for Patients’ development programme to help release capacity within general practice.