New deal for general practice

During a speech on 19 June 2015, the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, set out a number of commitments (both new and existing) in relation to general practice. These included:

  • Workforce reform: changing the focus of medical training to give students a better experience of primary care; increasing the number of GP training places and ensuring they are filled; refreshing the GP induction and 'returner' scheme; exploring options to retain GPs who are nearing retirement; further developing and expanding pilots for new 'physician associates' and incentive schemes to ensure trainees go to areas of the country most in need.
  • Support for infrastructure development: investing in general practice via the £1bn primary care infrastructure fund.
  • Support for 7-day service: developing a flexible and balanced approach to 7-day services and allocating £7.5m of the Primary Care Infrastructure Fund to support community pharmacists.
  • Reduction in bureaucracy: commissioning NHS England to investigate how bureaucratic burdens on general practice could be reduced.
  • Assessing quality of care: announcing a review by the Health Foundation into the quality of general practice and developing a £10m programme of support for struggling practices.

In return, the secretary of state asked general practices to make progress in:

  • offering appointments 7 days a week
  • assuming social prescribing responsibilities (referring patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of non-clinical services)
  • playing a more prominent role in public health
  • taking 'real clinical responsibility' for patients.

The secretary of state said: 'I am prepared to commit money to this plan - more GPs, more community nurses, more money for infrastructure, help to reduce burnout. The vision for out of hospital care set out in the Five Year Forward View requires more investment in primary care so this is the biggest opportunity for new investment in General Practice in a generation. But in return I will need your help to deliver a profound change the quality of care we offer patients.'

Source(s)

Hunt J.
New deal for general practice.
Department of Health; 2015.