Pharmacists and physios to take over routine GP appointments

Pharmacists and physios to take over routine GP appointments

 

Pharmacists and physiotherapists will take over routine appointments from family doctors in a bid to cut waiting times at GP surgeries.

A new GP contract will see an army of 20,000 practice staff recruited in the hope it will improve access to services.  

The new deal also promises to speed up access to video and web consultations – with patients given the right to Skype their GP within two years.

As part of the £4.5 million deal, GP practices will receive extra money, if their efforts are shown to have cut needless hospital visits, by keeping patients healthier for longer.

Health officials claim the recruitment of thousands more support staff would free up GPs – meaning they could give longer appointments to the sickest patients.

Paramedics, medical assistants and support workers will be among the expanded workforce, employed to deal with routine cases.

Officials said pharmacists could carry out detailed medicines reviews, while community paramedics would be employed to carry out home visits, sparing the frail elderly from trips to surgeries. The expansion of physiotherapy would mean more patients were offered musculo-skeletal checks, reducing their risk of falls, in a bid to keep pensioners independent for longer, while reducing pressures on hospitals, officials said.

The plans aim to ensure closer working between community and hospital services, with more care closer to home.

Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, said the five year deal was “the biggest boost to primary care in more than 15 years” promising it would make services more convenient for patients.

The deal will also see a new ban, which means GP practices are not allowed to advertise any private services, or run them from their surgery.

It follows growing controversy over the expansion of private GP services advertising private same-day appointments on the same premises where NHS patients are forced to wait weeks.

The terms, agreed with the British Medical Association, are an attempt to ensure the line between the NHS and private practice does not become blurred.

The plan – part of a settlement of a £20bn settlement for the NHS – promises to speed up access to digital appointments.

Just last month, a new GP IT framework pledged that all patients should get the right to web and video consultations by 2023/24.

But the new plan has shifted this forward to 2021.

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

“It provides the practical foundation for the big service improvements in the NHS Long Term Plan. Patients across England – in towns, villages and cities – will all begin to see the benefits, beginning this year. And it allows us to keep all that’s best about British general practice while future-proofing it for the decade ahead.”

Dr Richard Vautrey, British Medical Association 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 hard-working family doctors deal with an overstretched workforce doing their best to meet rising demand from patients suffering more and more complex conditions, all on the back of a decade of underinvestment in general practice.”

 

Source link