NHS RE­CRUITS 20,000 TO END GP CRI­SIS

Health rev­o­lu­tion to give pa­tients bet­ter all-round care at doc­tors’ surg­eries

Daily Express - - Front Page - By Hanna Geissler Health Re­porter

NHS bosses are set to re­cruit 20,000 staff to boost GP ser­vices.

A land­mark five-year plan prom­ises a fam­ily prac­tice rev­o­lu­tion to end the cur­rent cri­sis af­flict­ing surg­eries.

The new re­cruits will in­clude phar­ma­cists, paramedics and phys­io­ther­a­pists. Their role will be to take pres­sure off doc­tors and al­low them to spend more time with the sick­est pa­tients.

The plan, agreed last night be­tween health chiefs and the Bri­tish Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion, in­volves a £1.8bil­lion in­vest­ment by 2023. It will be used to set up pri­mary care net­works and help neigh­bour­ing

prac­tices to pool re­sources. Each net­work will cover from 30,000 to 50,000 pa­tients and be led by a lo­cal GP.

NHS chief ex­ec­u­tive Si­mon Stevens said the deal, of­fi­cially an­nounced to­day and part of an over­all bud­get of £4.5bil­lion for pri­mary care ser­vices, is the first ma­jor pil­lar in im­ple­ment­ing the new NHS Long Term Plan.

He said: “This five-year deal unar­guably rep­re­sents the big­gest boost to pri­mary care in more than 15 years, giv­ing pa­tients more con­ve­nient ser­vices at their lo­cal GP surgery while break­ing down the di­vide be­tween fam­ily doc­tors and com­mu­nity health ser­vices.

“Pa­tients across Eng­land – in towns, vil­lages and cities – will all be­gin to see the ben­e­fits, be­gin­ning this year.

“It al­lows us to keep all that’s best about Bri­tish gen­eral prac­tice while fu­ture-proof­ing it for the decade ahead.”

The net­works will be es­tab­lished across the coun­try by July and the 20,000 new staff will be re­cruited over the next five years.

They will also in­clude “so­cial pre­scribers”, who work to deal with non-med­i­cal prob­lems like lone­li­ness.

Health chiefs say the deal will par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fit frail and el­derly pa­tients and oth­ers with long-term and com­plex con­di­tions.

Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP com­mit­tee chair­man, said: “We are con­fi­dent that these wide­spread changes – the most sig­nif­i­cant in 15 years – will de­liver the best, not just for GPs across Eng­land, but also for the pa­tients they treat on a daily ba­sis.

“Re­cent years have seen an over­stretched work­force do­ing their best to meet ris­ing de­mand from pa­tients suf­fer­ing more and more com­plex con­di­tions, on the back of a decade of un­der-in­vest­ment in gen­eral prac­tice.

“This pack­age sets us on the road to re­build­ing not only gen­eral prac­tice but also the wider pri­mary health care team, de­liv­er­ing an ex­panded work­force em­bed­ded within prac­tices and giv­ing GPs a lead­er­ship role in bring­ing to­gether the com­mu­nity health­care team.”

The con­tract also prom­ises ad­di­tional fund­ing for the lat­est dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies. All pa­tients will have the right to “dig­i­tal-first” pri­mary care, in­clud­ing web and video con­sul­ta­tions by 2021.

They will be able to or­der re­peat pre­scrip­tions elec­tron­i­cally from April and have dig­i­tal ac­cess to their full records from 2020.

Within five years, more than 2.5 mil­lion peo­ple will ben­e­fit from so­cial pre­scrib­ing, a per­sonal health bud­get, and new sup­port for man­ag­ing their own health and care.

Pro­fes­sor He­len Stokes-Lam­pard, head of the Royal Col­lege of GPs, said gen­eral prac­tice has been “at a crossroads for sev­eral years” as doc­tors strug­gled to cope.

Wel­com­ing the deal, she said: “In­vest­ing in gen­eral prac­tice is in­vest­ing in the en­tire health ser­vice.

“Im­ple­mented cor­rectly, this con­tract could cul­ti­vate a pro­fes­sion that fu­ture doc­tors are ea­ger to join.”

Richard Mur­ray, chief ex­ec­u­tive of The King’s Fund, said yes­ter­day: “The new deal is wel­come recog­ni­tion of the pres­sures fac­ing gen­eral prac­tice and sig­nals a fun­da­men­tal change in the way that GP ser­vices will be de­liv­ered.”

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