Improving patient access to GP appointments

  • Patients should be able to see their GP in the way they want, no matter where they live, and GPs should not face barriers to doing their vital work.
  • That is why the government has set out a new plan, including a £250 million winter access fund, to increase the number of face-to-face appointments and help tackle underperformance, as well as setting out more measures to tackle abuse at GP surgeries to make sure staff can work without fear for their safety.
  • This is part of a major drive to support GPs, level up performance, and ensure that everyone can see their GP in the way they want as we build back better.

This will be achieved by:

  • Publishing a plan for improving access to GP appointments with a £250 million fund so that patients can see their GP in the way they want, no matter where they live.  This plan, including a £250 million winter access fund, provides general practice teams with targeted support to help tackle underperformance, taking pressure off staff so they can spend more time with patients and increase the number of face-to-face appointments. 
  • Increasing the oversight of practices and publishing GP appointment data to improve transparency tackle underperformance. There will be increased oversight of practices and GP appointment data will be published at practice level by spring next year, as currently monthly data is only published by CCGs – enhancing transparency and accountability. 
  • Setting out more measures to tackle abuse and harassment so staff at GP surgeries, who work tirelessly to care for patients, can do so without fear for their safety. Alongside the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, we will develop a zero-tolerance campaign on abuse of NHS staff, including GP teams. 
  • Freeing up more time for appointments by cutting red tape for GPs. We are reducing administrative burdens on GPs by reforming who can provide medical evidence and certificate such as FIT notes and DVLA checks. 
  • Enabling patients to see different types of clinicians in general practice so their needs can be best met. Patients will be able to see different types of clinicians in general practice, who can best meet their needs and conditions, including pharmacists, paramedics, advanced nurse practitioners and nursing associates. 
  • Considering how the role of pharmacists can be increased in the supply of medication to relieve workload on GPs. We will work with NHS England to consider how far and fast the role of pharmacists can be increased in the supply of medication.
  • Supporting upgrades to telephone systems so patients can quickly and easily speak to GP staff. Under this plan, we are supporting the improvement of telephone systems to help the public avoid long waits when contacting a surgery by phone.  

The Conservatives are backing our NHS by:

  • Delivering the biggest catchup programme in the NHS’s history, so that everyone can get the care they deserve. Over the next three years, this additional £36 billion of funding will deliver the equivalent of around nine million more checks, scans and procedures – and elective activity will be around 30 per cent than it was before the pandemic. Once the NHS has recovered from the pandemic, activity should be ten per cent higher than under the NHS Long Term Plan. 
  • Giving our NHS the biggest cash boost in history, and enshrining that increase into law, safeguarding it for future generations. We are investing an additional £33.9 billion into frontline NHS services every year by 2023-24, the largest and longest funding settlement in the history of the NHS. 
  • Building 40 new hospitals across England and upgrading 20 more, which will make a real difference to the lives of NHS staff and patients. Our £3.7 billion hospital building programme is the biggest of its kind in a generation, which will deliver 48 hospitals by 2030. We are also providing £850 million to support 20 hospitals in upgrading outdated facilities and equipment.
  • Overseeing a record number of doctors and nurses for our NHS, meaning it can continue to provide the world-class care patients deserve. The number of doctors and nurses working in the NHS across England has hit record levels and we are on track to meet our manifesto commitment to deliver 50,000 more nurses by 2024.


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