A joint NHS and Department of Health and Social Care Delivery Plan for Recovering Access to Primary Care has now been published. It sets out how the NHS will make it easier and more convenient for patients to get the help they need from primary care services.
The new blueprint sets out actions, which come into effect over the next few months, to improve access to care, better support patients to manage their own health, and to modernise general practice for future generations.
For the first time ever, patients who need prescription medication will be able to get it directly from a pharmacy, without a GP appointment, for seven common conditions including earache, sore throat, or urinary tract infections, which is expected to free up around 15 million GP appointments over the next two years for patients who need them most. While up to half a million people a year will be able to self-refer for key services, including physiotherapy, hearing tests, and podiatry, without seeing their GP first.
Ending the 8am ‘rush’ for appointments is a key part of the plan too, with investment in better phone technology for GP teams enabling them to manage multiple calls and reducing the struggle for people to contact their practice. Extra training will also be provided to staff answering calls at GP practices, so that people who need to see their family doctor are prioritised while those who would be better seen by other staff such as physiotherapists or mental health specialists are able to bypass their GP.
For more information read the full plan online