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Independents' Day

Seven-day GP access 'will not be a priority' following PM's resignation

Exclusive Routine seven-day general practice is not going to be ‘anybody’s priority’ once David Cameron steps down as Prime Minister, a senior Government adviser has said.

NHS England’s national adviser on new models of primary care Sir Sam Everington told Pulse that the new cabinet, once it has been established, will undergo a 'complete rethink' of the NHS.

He said that a new government will prioritise ways to keep people out of hospital, and seven-day routine care - including in general practice - 'is not going to be a priority for anyone'.

Sir Sam, who is chair of NHS Tower Hamlets CCG, was NHS England's chief adviser on NHS England's Five Year Forward View, which set out its strategy and introduced the 'new models of care', which will see organisations providing both primary and secondary care. 

Speaking to Pulse, he also cast doubt on pledges that the exit from the European Union will lead to extra money for the NHS.

He said: ‘I suspect that any new regime that comes in is going to have a complete rethink of the NHS and how they manage the massive financial challenge. Whatever people promised around £350m a week extra for the NHS - I don’t think anyone believes that in reality that is going to happen.

'So in those circumstances, it will be actually how do we manage with the resources we’ve got in this moment in time and use them most effectively to deliver care for patients.’

Asked whether he thought routine GP appointments on a Sunday, which have come under particular questioning, would be a part of that, Sir Sam said: ‘Well it is not going to be a priority for anybody. Priorities are to keep people out of hospital. Priorities at the weekend, in the community, is to deal with urgent care. It is to keep complex patients out of hospital by giving them support in their community and enable people to get out of hospital on the weekend. That has to be the priority.

‘Routine weekend care is not going to be the priority for the future.’

Seven-day routine GP access has been pushed by Mr Cameron, who has taken ownership of the scheme.

In 2013, he announced that the 'PM's Challenge Fund' would provide £400m for schemes that offer 8am-8pm routine access, seven days a week.

The first pledge in the Conservatives’ 2015 election manifesto said the party would ‘provide seven-day a week access to your GP and deliver a truly seven-day NHS’.

He also announced a new voluntary contract for practices to provide seven-day services open to practices or groups of practices covering more than 30,000 patients. Pulse reported this week that the contract is set to be on 15-year terms and could include provisions for GP indemnity costs to be paid and an end to CQC inspections at a practice level.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt - who has stewarded the rollout of seven-day routine GP appointments under Mr Cameron - had considered putting himself forward for the role as Conservative Party leader but decided against it.

The party membership will be voting on their next leader - either Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom - with the result due 9 September.


Readers' comments (17)

  • this is confusing - I thought that was the reason JH is enforcing the contract as 'he has a duty (sic)' to ensure that the manifesto promise of 7 day services is met?

    ironic that reports on the Chilcot inquiry talk about evidence being presented in a way to achieve political aims with poor planning or little thought of the consequences. It's clear that nothing has been learnt because the same principle is being applied by the government on health policy. once the NHS is gone are we going to get an inquiry to tell us this in 20 years time?

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  • Opportunity cost is crucial.
    Do you want 1000 more GP appts per year at £20 a pop or 666 weekend appts at £35 a head.

    Or alternatively, when I start delivering 666 weekend appointments per year are you happy for me to reduce 1000 appointments in the week?

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  • All change.............hopefully for the better.

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  • So they've finally worked out what no money means.

    Best bit of news this year.

    I'm off on holiday. See you all in August.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Quiz question:
    SE really look like one of the late Hollywood Oscar-winning movie actors , who is that?
    Clue : he was in Hunger Games series.

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  • Vinci Ho

    I wonder who he is supporting to be the next PM
    Looks like Auntie May will be .
    Leadsom has the support of IDS and NF , an equation of poison chalice.
    Sit tight ,folks , with this roller coaster , more to come.
    My feeling is we are moving into a new stage of our war.

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  • if they cut this the money will not be recycled into primary care - most likley support the hospital deficits. In our area 7 day working is really helping some struggling practices by providing more capacity

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  • This is most unhelpful of Sir Sam.
    Where 7-day working has been done well it has reduced pressure on local practices and created investment in primary care.
    It has convinced GPs that we can work together in groups of practices.
    It has also convinced their CCGs that GPs can work together to provide population-based care - and as a result many CCGs and STPs are now looking to disinvest in secondary care in order to invest more in delivering more services in primary care (and especially general practice).
    The last thing we need - on the eve of STPs submitting their plans - is yet another government deciding to throw everything out and try to start again from scratch.

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  • This was a manifesto commitment that had to be honoured because the electorate had voted for it! Our political elite are anything but.

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  • I'm all for not wasting money but should this not be decided on clinical effectiveness, not who is in power? I hope the nation can see what tories are about - led the nation to Brexit (with it's economical free fall we are starting to experience), worsening of health, social and education services, now clear message from the gov - we change your health service on political agenda, not your need!

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