In her first statement to the House of Commons as Secretary of State, Ms Coffey outlined “Our plan for patients“, which aims include providing GP appointments more quickly and recruiting more non-GP clinical staff to increase appointment availability.
The main actions in the plan are:
- To “set the expectation that everyone who needs an appointment with their practice within two weeks can get one”, although no changes to the GP Contract have been mentioned so far to enforce this.
- Increase same day appointments for patients who need urgent care, including providing more than a million extra appointments over winter. There are no details on how this would differ from the current provision of urgent appointments.
- Make an additional 31,000 phone lines available for GP practices, making it easier to book an appointment.
- Publish data on how many appointments each GP practice delivers and the length of waits for appointments.
- Require integrated care boards to “hold practices to account, providing support to those practices with the most acute access challenges to improve performance”, there are currently no details of what sanctions could be applied to practices or support offered.
- Retain more doctors by “correcting pension rules regarding inflation” and “correcting pension rules regarding inflation”.
- A number of existing policies, such as increasing the number of community diagnostic hubs, were also included in the statement.
Londonwide LMCs’ press statement issued in response can be found here.