General practice in England provides high
quality, efficient care to millions of people a week. With changes in society and patients’
needs, we will help general practice deliver more of its potential at the heart of the
NHS. We are placing fresh emphasis on helping people
stay healthy and empowering them to play an active role in their care.
We’re encouraging clinical commissioning groups to commission new services to keep people
well and independent. New investment in technology will also put information and power into the
hands of patients. Recent research shows that up to 13% of GP
consultations might be handled by someone else in the team.
So, whether the patient chooses to click, call or come in, actively signposting them
to the right person can help the practice as well as the patient.
Greater use of technology and other innovations is enabling new types of consultation.
Apps and web portals allow patients to connect with their practice, get information or consult
the GP. In the same way, many are finding that consultations
on the phone are both more convenient and more efficient.
For people with long-term conditions, group consultations can improve the management of
their condition and release time for clinicians. Access hubs allow groups of GP practices collaborating
together to provide routine care in the evenings or at weekends.
Innovations like these can make it easier for GPs to spend more time with patients who
need it. Work is underway to recruit 5,000 more doctors
to general practice. But it will also add 5,000 other staff. This will allow practices
to make enhanced use of nurses, and integrate other professionals such as pharmacists, therapists
and others. Patients still need their GP to be at the
heart of their lifelong care. But increasingly we will see the GP able to coordinate work
undertaken by others as well. New approaches to care recognise there is
no one-size-fits-all approach for patients. For patients with a one-off need, responsiveness
is important but continuity of care is often less so. They need a professional with the
right skills and access to their record, but it’s less important to choose a particular
clinician. With ongoing needs, continuity and coordination
of care are often more important than getting an appointment quickly. We want it to be easier
for these patients to consult their usual clinician.
Many practices in England are already implementing several of these innovations. Together, they
can help general practice deliver even more of its potential, improving life for patients