North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson has welcomed the news that the new NHS Long Term Plan is being used to improve access to & funding for primary care services, including GPs.
The NHS Long Term Plan sets out plans to modernise the health service and explains how the extra £20.5 billion a year for the NHS which was announced last year to build on existing record funding will be spent.
The latest announcements made today as part of the 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.
NHS England will fund 20,000 more staff to help GP practices work together as part of a local ‘Primary Care Networks’. The new recruits – pharmacists, physios, paramedics, physician associates and social prescribing support workers – will free up GPs 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.
The plan for improving general practice will see core funding increase by £978 million per year by 2023/24 and, from July, NHS England will introduce new localised “Primary Care Networks” to improve the link between GPs and other NHS care providers; a plan worth an extra £1.799 billion, or £1.47 million per typical network covering 50,000 people.
This builds on the increase of 5,000 extra practice staff working with GPs over the past four years. Core 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.
Patient access will continue to improve, including the introduction of digital appointments, backed by a new patient right to web and video consultations by 2021.
The new proposals compliment the progress which saw evening and weekend appointments made available across the country in December, three months ahead of schedule, meaning an extra nine million are available at more convenient times.
It means GP practices will be able to drive further action on killer conditions such as cancer and heart disease as well as doing more to tackle obesity, diabetes and mental ill health, and support older people at home and in care homes.