Thank you for contacting me about strengthening GP services.
I am pleased that supporting General Practice is at the heart of the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP). As part of the plan, investment in primary and community care is set to receive at least £4.5 billion more a year by 2023/24. I know that this is one of the largest uplifts in the £33.9 billion increase to NHS England’s budget by 2023/24, and will mean primary and community funding will grow faster than the rising NHS budget.
NHS England and the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee also agreed a five-year GP (General Medical Services) contract framework from 2019/20. It is encouraging that this contract is delivering the most ambitious reform in General Practice in a generation, seeing billions of extra investment for improved access to family doctors, expanded services at local practices and longer appointments for patients who need them.
I understand that the NHS LTP seeks to encourage more collaboration between GPs, their teams and community services, as primary care networks (PCN). PCNs are increasing the focus on NHS organisations working with their local partners to plan and deliver services which meet the needs of their communities.
Increasing the number of nurses and doctors working in General Practice is a Government priority and will be boosted by increased funding for the core GP contract, which is set to rise by £978 million a year by 2023/24.
I fully support the use of technology in General Practice and Primary Care to improve access for people who are less able to make appointments in person, whether because of work and childcare commitments or travel and transport challenges. In recent months this technology has proven most useful in enabling people to access the care that they need without risking exposure to Covid-19. However, I agree that GP surgeries should enable patients who wish to speak to a doctor in person to do so, where they can do safely, as quickly as possible.
The Government remains committed to delivering 6,000 additional GPs as soon as possible, through new incentives for training, recruitment, retention and return to practice. These measures contribute to the delivery of 50 million more appointments in GP surgeries.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP