The government's Primary Care Plan
• The pandemic has had a huge impact on the NHS and our ability to access healthcare, which is why the Prime Minister made cutting waiting lists one of his five priorities.
• A strong primary care system reduces pressure on A&E, improves the efficiency of the NHS and helps people live healthier lives, but GPs are now facing a surge in demand because of the pandemic.
Ten per cent more GP appointments are happening every month compared to before the pandemic, but we need to do more to modernise our primary care system.
So the government has a primary care plan, and is putting in resources to ensure it will make a real difference. This includes funding 15 million more GP Appointments.
The government's Primary Care plan aims to:
- Tackle the "8am rush" and make it easier for people to contact their GP, book an appointment and get the care they need within two weeks.
- Provide more services in pharmacies and on the high street, increasing patient choice and alleviating pressure on GPs.
- Deliver more GPs and appointments and cutt unnecessary bureaucracy, making sure people can get the care they need.
This will transform primary care, and help to cut waiting lists.
Specific measures included in the plan include:
Investing £645 million so more services are provided by high street pharmacies
Expanding the services available on the NHS App
Patients in over 90 per cent of practices will be able to see their records (including test results, immunisations and consultation messages), book appointments and order repeat prescriptions using the NHS App by March 2024.
Making it easier to self-refer where it is safe to do so.
Where GP involvement is not clinically necessary, it is planned to expand direct access and self-referral
– for example for eye consultations, hearing aid provision, weight management services, and wheelchair and community equipment services.
Cutting unnecessary bureaucracy so GPs can spend more time focusing on patients.
GPs workload outside of appointments has increased by over 50 per cent since the pandemic. So the Primary Care plan provides to safely reduce the time GPs spend liaising with hospitals by, for example,
allowing patients to get test results and sick notes directly rather than through GPs, reducing requests to GPs to verify medical evidence, and streamlining GP's priorities, with a focus on a smaller number of key national issues, including cancer and flu jabs.