NHS England has announced a 5 year plan to reorganise and reform GP services to be more effective.
The reforms recognise the pressures GPs face with the rising complexity of treatments and challenges of an aging population and seek to give better support and resources to GP practices.
The 5 year plan calls for 5,000 new GPs and the reorganisation of existing practices with improved funding leading to better overall quality of outcomes, joining together of care services in the community with patients and GP practices benefiting from improved digital technologies. The result being reduced waiting times, better connected services, better support for local communities and better outcomes for patients.
Responding to the announcement of NHS England’s new contract for general practice, Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Nigel Edwards said: “This new contract is a radical step. GPs will be able to offer a much wider range of services, and this should help relieve some of the pressure they are under. It is likely to lead to a historic move away from GPs as freestanding small businesses. We’re pleased this is being done through the carrot, not the stick.
“We need to hear more about where these staff are coming from – after all, many other parts of the NHS have their own serious shortages. It’s still not clear what is happening to GP and practice staff pay, but this will be a vital question. National and local NHS leaders will also need to make sure they support these networks so that they can handle new responsibilities and funding on this scale.”
Dr Rosie Loftus, Chief Medical Officer at Macmillan Cancer Support, says: “Measures are a step in the right direction towards more coordinated care in general practice, which is essential for people living with cancer.
“With over half of GPs and nurses concerned about the NHS’ ability to provide adequate care for people living with cancer, we desperately need concrete, long-term measures to ensure the demand for their services can be met.
“This is just the beginning of tackling the challenges — a strategy to ensure the workforce is fit for the future is the next, and most crucial, step.”
You can read NHS England’s 5 year plan here.
56% of GPs and nurses Macmillan Cancer Support surveyed working in primary care are not confident in the NHS’s ability to provide adequate care for people living with cancer with the current pressures on the NHS. nfpSynergy, Primary Healthcare Monitor, 2018.