COM­MENT

Daily Express - - News - DR NIKKI KANANI NHS Eng­land di­rec­tor and GP

AS A fam­ily doc­tor, I know how vi­tal GP surg­eries are to the com­mu­ni­ties we serve and to a wide range of pa­tients, from young chil­dren to the el­derly liv­ing with mul­ti­ple long-term con­di­tions, and car­ers.

But I also know how chal­leng­ing pro­vid­ing that care can of­ten be.

That’s why to­day’s con­tract deal is such a land­mark mo­ment. It’s good for pa­tients, good for GPs and good for the tax­pay­ers who fund the NHS.

The NHS Long Term Plan pledged that fund­ing for pri­mary med­i­cal and com­mu­nity care will re­ceive a £4.5bil­lion an­nual boost by 2023, help­ing us help our pa­tients over the next five years.

The pack­age will see teams bol­stered with more nurses, men­tal health work­ers and other pro­fes­sion­als, so they can of­fer more of the ser­vices peo­ple want lo­cally.

It will help prac­tices to be more proac­tive in im­prov­ing the health of their com­mu­ni­ties, and the qual­ity of

care pro­vided to some of our most vul­ner­a­ble pa­tients.

What that means for pa­tients is im­proved ac­cess to high qual­ity care when they need it, with more ap­point­ments avail­able, in­clud­ing evenings and at week­ends, in their home, or over the phone and on­line.

Build­ing on the step-change this of­fers, sup­port for GPs will free up time for longer con­sul­ta­tions which could in­clude early di­ag­no­sis of ma­jor con­di­tions such as can­cer and heart dis­ease.

For 70 years, pri­mary care has been the bedrock of the NHS. This agree­ment pro­vides an even stronger foun­da­tion for the fu­ture.

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