To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the availability of face-to-face GP appointments in Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency.
24 January 2022
The National Health Service has been clear that general practitioner (GP) practices must provide face to face appointments, alongside remote consultations. Patients’ input into consultation type should be sought and practices should respect preferences for face to face care unless there are good clinical reasons to the contrary, such as the presence of COVID-19 symptoms.
In October 2021, with NHS England and NHS Improvement, we set out measures to support general practice during the winter, with an additional investment of £250 million in the Winter Access Fund to improve capacity in general practice.
The Winter Access Fund and local funding have contributed to initiatives to support general practices and Primary Care Networks in Bexley. These include additional sessions for practice staff including administrative staff, development of locum banks, digital booking platforms and funding for additional physicians in practices. Additional funding has been provided for the GP Extended Access Service, which has provided access to more face to face appointments and a primary care communications support package has been developed locally to support practices to provide information to their patients on accessing services.