NHS England has outlined a raft of measures intended to ensure that the healthcare system deliers high quality GP services for patients and staff in the next two years.
The healthcare body stated that the measure effectively reaffirms its commitment to transforming primary care and general practice.
Reforms set out in the General Practice Forward View one year ago will now come into force.
And NHS England has announced this approach at a time when the organisation is ready to set out its delivery plan to meet the wider priorities of patients and the public by better integrating health and care services.
NHS England has claimed the following key primary care achievements over the last few years:
- 17 million people now able to access GP appointments at evenings and weekends;
- Increased investment in general practice in 2016/17 – with estimated outturn of at least an additional £500 million more than 2015/16 – and an additional £1 billion more than 2014/15;
- Real terms funding is also up 8% over the past three years since NHS England was established;
- 491 clinical pharmacists working in and across 658 practices, with co-funding from NHS England;
- Significant additional investment in GP premises and technology, with over 800 new schemes identified during 2016-2019;
- Numbers entering GP training are up 10% since 2015;
- Figures show over 1200 practices have already benefitted from £21 million of resilience and support funding.
A major part of this work will be the rollout of place-based local care networks.
These will bring together a communities of GPs, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, therapists and social care workers to deliver a single health and care system for neighbourhoods of typically 30,000 – 50,000.
It is hoped that this will lead to closer collaboration between clinicians and staff.
NHS England has already set the following targets for the NHS in the coming years.
- By March 2018, at least 40%, of the country will benefit from extended access to GP appointments at evenings and weekends but with an aim of 50%. By March 2019 this will extend to 100% of the country;
- Increase pharmacists in general practice to over 900 by March 2018 and over 1300 by March 2019;
- 800 mental health therapists in general practice by March 2018 rising to over 1500 by March 2019;
- 800 infrastructure projects are identified for Estates and Technology Transformation Fund investment in the coming years.
Arvind Madan, GP and NHS England Director of Primary Care, believes that the measures will enhance the way that the health service operates.
“If we look back to where general practice was a year ago, I think we have made significant progress but the journey is far from over. The measures we are setting out today will continue to build momentum behind the wider transformation of primary care and help us deliver the high quality, flexible health service that is needed in the face of ever-rising patient demand.”