The NHS has recently unveiled a transformative "Delivery Plan for Recovering Access to Primary Care". This plan is set to significantly impact GPs, Primary Care organisations, GP surgeries, and Integrated Care Boards (ICBs). To help you navigate these changes, We've distilled the key points into a concise overview. Let's dive into the highlights of this pivotal plan.
The plan aims to empower patients by rolling out tools they can use to manage their own health. It also includes a significant investment of up to £645 million over two years to expand services offered by community pharmacies. By March 2024, over 90% of practices will enable patients to see their records, book appointments, and order repeat prescriptions using the NHS App.
Expanding Community Pharmacy Services
Community pharmacies will play a crucial role in the new plan. The NHS aims to expand pharmacy oral contraception (OC) and blood pressure (BP) services this year, subject to consultation. By the end of 2023, the NHS plans to launch Pharmacy First, allowing community pharmacies to supply prescription-only medicines for seven common conditions. This could save 10 million appointments in general practice a year once scaled.
Modern General Practice Access
The plan introduces 'Modern General Practice Access', ensuring patients know on the day how their request will be handled, based on clinical need. Practices will be supported to move to digital telephony, including call-back functionality, by July 2023. All practices will be provided with the digital tools and care navigation training for Modern General Practice Access and fund transition cover for those that commit to adopting this approach before March 2025.
The plan aims to build capacity so practices can offer more appointments from more staff than ever before. An extra £385 million will be made available in 2023/24 to employ 26,000 more direct patient care staff and deliver 50 million more appointments by March 2024 (compared to 2019).
The plan aims to cut bureaucracy to give practice teams more time to focus on their patients’ clinical needs. This includes reducing time spent liaising with hospitals and reducing requests to GPs to verify medical evidence.
Accountability and Transformation Support
The plan outlines clear accountability measures and transformation support for all practices from May 2023 through a new National General Practice Improvement Programme.
This plan represents a significant shift in the way primary care is delivered in the UK. As healthcare professionals, it's important that we understand these changes and adapt our practices accordingly. Let's continue to collaborate and share our experiences to ensure we provide the best possible care for our patients.