A new five-year contract for general practice across England will see billions of extra investment for improved access to family doctors, expanded services at local practices and longer appointments for patients who need them.
The deal - the biggest reform to GP services in fifteen years – was approved by NHS England yesterday. NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said it is the first major pillar implementing the NHS Long Term Plan, coming just three weeks after the Plan was published.
The new contract has been welcomed by health and care leaders in Lancashire and South Cumbria, who said it would accelerate work already underway to sustain and transform primary care.
The extra investment will increase the numbers of staff working in general practice and look to increase the numbers of pharmacists, physios, paramedics, physician associates and social prescribing support workers in general practice.
The contract will also see neighbouring practices working together as primary care networks, with multi-disciplinary teams working alongside other community services.
Dr Malcolm Ridgway, Senior Responsible Officer for Primary Care, for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: This is fantastic news and a welcome boost that will accelerate our programmes of work to support, sustain and transform primary care.
“One of our key priorities is to grow the general practice workforce to meet current and future needs, and in addition to our work to recruit and retain GPs we are supporting increases in the wider clinical workforce such as nurses, pharmacists, physicians’ associates and paramedics working in practices across Lancashire and South Cumbria.
“Our work to support primary care networks is moving at pace, with network agreements in place for all of our practices, and we will continue to work closely with our local clinical commissioning groups and practices to support their development.”
Examples of work already underway to transform primary care in Lancashire and South Cumbria include:
*100% of practices within Lancashire and South Cumbria is included or linked to a primary care network, which is ahead of the national target.£1.75 million has been invested to support the development of primary care networks across the whole of Lancashire and South Cumbria.
*three physician associates (PA) are already working in practices in Lancashire & South Cumbria and there are plans to increase the numbers over the next year. Find out more about PA’s: https://youtu.be/Brwb8KI16qw.
*14 clinical pharmacists are already working in practices in Lancashire & South Cumbria, with a further 11 clinical pharmacists approved for recruitment his year.You can view a video on Clinical Pharmacists here: https://youtu.be/KMpzNByQpE4
*Across Lancashire and South Cumbria 18 Primary Care networks are taking part in the digital exemplar programme and currently have access to services online.98 practices are currently enabled to use the MyGP app, which has been downloaded by over 36,000 patients.