Millions to benefit from improved GP care

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Millions to benefit from improved GP care

 Extended opening hours and enhanced care for the elderly will soon be available at doctors’ surgeries across many parts of the country.

Millions of people will now be able to see their family doctor outside of working hours, including late night and weekend appointments, while the elderly and those with more serious health complaints will get tailored care, coordinated by just one local GP.

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens have set out the proposals for:

  • More GP access – More than 7.5 million people in England will be offered increased access to their GP services, including seven-day opening and 8am-8pm appointments. The Prime Minister’s £50 million GP Access Fund will support 1,147 practices covering every region to offer extra services for those who struggle to find appointments that fit in with their family and work life. GP groups have responded enthusiastically to the call for ideas on how to modernise services and will now bring in a variety of forward-thinking services to suit busy lifestyles, including greater use of Skype, email and phone consultations for those who would find it easier. The Fund was originally expected to help just 500,000 people but has been expanded as a result of a high level of interest from surgeries across the country.
  • Personalised care for the most vulnerable – 800,000 people with the most complex needs, mostly aged over 75, will also be enrolled onto a separate Transforming Primary Care programme of proactive, personalised care in the community. These patients will be offered a proactive enhanced service including: individual care plans reviewed regularly with patients and carers by GPs, nurses, carers and other health professionals; a named GP responsible for their care; and same-day access to a GP when they need it.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said:

Back in October, I said I wanted to make it easier for people to get appointments that fit in around a busy working week and family commitments.

There has been a great response from doctors, with lots of innovative ideas, and we will now see over seven million patients given weekend and evening opening hours, alongside more access to their family doctor on the phone, via email or even Skype.

This is an important step and good news for patients.

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