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NHS England announces multi-billion plan to transform general practice with visit to Lambeth Walk

The head of NHS England today announced a multi-billion pound plan designed to support general practice, improve patient care and access, and invest in new ways of providing primary care.

Simon Stevens, who has strong links to Lambeth having lived and worked here for several years, visited Lambeth Walk Group Practice to talk about the new “General Practice Forward View” - developed with Health Education England and in discussion with the Royal College of GPs and other GP representatives.

Simon Stevens said the NHS would now earmark an extra £2.4 billion a year for general practice services by 2020/21. This means spending will rise from £9.6 billion in 2016/17 to over £12 billion by 2021 - a 14 per cent real terms increase. This investment will be supplemented by a £500 million national 'turnaround' package to support GP practices, and additional funds from local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

Simon Stevens said: “GPs are by far the largest branch of British medicine. It’s no great surprise that a recent international survey revealed British GPs are under far greater pressure than their counterparts, with rising workload matched by growing patient concerns about convenient access. Now we need to act, and this plan sets out exactly how."

The national plan also contains specific, practical and funded steps to strengthen workforce, drive efficiencies in workload, modernise infrastructure and technology, and redesign the way modern primary care is offered to patients.

Arvind Madan, NHS England Director of Primary Care and a Tower Hamlets GP, said “We are acutely aware of the pressures GPs are facing right now and the need to get on track as quickly as possible. This means that practices, working together, will benefit from access to support if they are struggling to meet patient’s needs, reductions in unnecessary workload, more opportunities to recruit staff and a chance to improve use of their technology or premises”. 

“We know this is just the start of the journey but we are determined to get this right for the benefit of patients, GPs and the wider healthcare system.”

Dr Adrian McLachlan, Chair of NHS Lambeth CCG which jointly commission general practice services with NHS England, said: “We welcome the news that additional funding and support will be provided to boost primary care. In Lambeth we work hard to ensure that all patients receive high quality care, but we need to do more to help people easily access excellent primary care services. We expect the additional support offered within the GP Forward View will help us move forward with our plans for out of hospital care at a faster pace.

Read the GP Forward View Plan