A new contract for general practice in England will see extra investment for improved access, expanded services at local practices and longer appointments for patients who need them.
NHS England will fund 20,000 more staff to help GP practices work together as part of a local primary care network. The new staff, including pharmacists, physios, paramedics, physician associates and social prescribing support workers will free up general practice staff to spend more time with patients who need them, most as well ensuring patients have access to a wide range of services at their local practice.
This builds on the increase of 5,000 extra practice staff working with GPs over the past four years. The funding increases will also support more practice nurses and GPs, with the number of young doctors choosing to train as GPs now at a record high.
‘This five-year deal unarguably represents the biggest boost to primary care in more than fifteen years, giving patients more convenient services at their local GP surgery while breaking down the divide between family doctors and community health services. It provides the practical foundation for the big service improvements in the NHS Long Term Plan. Patients across England in towns, villages and cities will all begin to see the benefits, beginning this year. And it allows us to keep all that’s best about British general practice while future-proofing it for the decade ahead.’
The NHS Long Term Plan will see funding for primary medical and community care increase as a share of the NHS budget for the first time in the health service’s 70-year history, with an extra £4.5 billion invested by 2023. The new contract will aim to join-up care. neighbouring practices will work in multi-disciplinary teams with other community services. According to NHS England, this will particularly benefit older people living with frailty and others with long term and complex conditions.
‘This Contract gives five-year funding clarity and certainty for practices while giving patients improved services,’ said Dr Nikki Kanani, a GP and NHS England’s Acting Medical Director for Primary Care. ‘Primary medical and community care resources will increase by £4.5 billion by 2023-24 and rise as a share of the overall NHS budget. And this agreement confirms how much of this new investment will stabilise and transform primary care through general practice and the evolution of Primary Care Networks. It’s a game changer and signals the start of a new era for general practice.’