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Health secretary announces 'one-stop' plan to revolutionise role of GPs

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced a new programme aimed at moving more patient services to GP practices from hospital.

Mr Hunt said that under his ‘GP one-stop programme’, the NHS will be going through ‘condition by condition’ to see which can be handled in general practice rather than secondary care going forward.

Mr Hunt said that the NHS has to ’get back to basics and think how many issues and problems could actually be solved with a visit to a general practice’ rather than ‘sending someone to the back of another queue’.

Speaking at the Best Practice conference in Birmingham today, he said: ’I think it is quite sobering to note that the entire outpatient budget for hospitals is around the same as the entire general practice budget.

’[But] I think as far as patients are concerned they would much prefer it if a lot of those problems were sorted out inside general practice.’

Mr Hunt said his plan would include a range of conditions, such as for example diabetes.

He said: ’So you will be hearing more about what I am calling “the GP one-stop programme”, looking at areas like diabetes, end-stage renal, and many others.

’We are going to go through, situation by situation, condition by condition, and ask what barriers we can remove centrally to allow more of this work to happen in general practice.’

He admitted that this meant asking GPs to ‘do more work’ but said that they would be ‘paid for doing that’ and argued that it would also ‘make life more rewarding for doctors’.

And, aside from being more satisfying for GPs, Mr Hunt said the model will allow patients to be seen more quickly.

He said: ’It’s not just that it’s better for patients, because they’ll get the care they need more quickly, but also its part of making the process of making life more rewarding for doctors, because it think the last thing a doctor wants to do is send someone home without having sorted out the problem.’

But he added that the Department of Health was looking at how it would fund this shift in workload.

He said: ‘That means looking at payment systems.

’Because we are asking GPs and practices to do more work, they need to be paid for doing that. It also means removing some of the inflexibilities.’

The news comes as NHS England is in the process of developing a new voluntary GP contract for large-scale multidisciplinary GP practices with 30,000 or more patients, which aims for practices to employ a wider range of healthcare staff.

But it also comes as the GPC has been successful in convincing NHS leaders to amend hospital contracts to stop ‘workload dump’ from secondary care colleagues, amid unprecedented pressure on GP practices.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ’

Many practices and GPs already do this, caring for the vast majority of their diabetic patients. However this shifted work is not matched and supported by shifted resources and moving funding to make such services sustainable is what is really needed.’

Readers' comments (57)

  • Not more work Jezza! Are you trying to kill us?

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  • now we have it confirmed..he is indeed batshit crazy..paying us more is no help you fool..WE NEED MORE GPs

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  • Does he no get it we are dying here, cant he leave us to die in peace,why the torment!

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  • ’I think it is quite sobering to note that the entire outpatient budget for hospitals is around the same as he entire general practice budget.

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  • This comment has been moderated.

  • Well done my multispecialty community provider vanguard idiots, this is the crap that is going to fall onto you and the rest of general practice for peanuts.

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  • The squeals of protest(endorsed and embellished by prominent media drivers) from influential secondary care leaders, at the proposed threat to their own limited income stream will probably mean we won't even get the tuppence JH will promise us. (He certainly knows just how to bolster freefalling NHS morale!) Of course if hospitals sent their precious staff to man clinics in GP there could even be a win-win.

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  • The only way this is going to work is to huge number of secondary care consultants working in chambers or being employed by a mcp organisation.
    However all this is repeating conversations that have been talked about for at least 20 years.
    Unless it is adequately funded / man powered it just isn't going to happen.

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  • OMG. This man doesn't have a clue. I have a friend who has just been employed by NHSE looking at this. She's a psychologist who survived for 6 months in actual patient care. Much as I love my friend she doesn't have a clue.
    This is the grave concern, that people who have no clue have the funding and power to come up with this crap

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  • Good luck doing inulin pump clinics and dialysis in your spare rooms guys. Your great leaders have convinced our jezza that you're a limitless resource, and everyone is secondary care is a money grabbing lazybones. Now we can all sit back and let you do the graft. Lovely.

    Except you'll fail, and we just get to mop up the mess when it alll goes wrong. Just like the admissions avoidance, which simply increased referrals.

    And yes, mr GP trainer, hospital staff are a scarce and precious resource, which needs to be deployed where they are most effective, it just to make your life easier. Which for the most part, is not doing primary care clinics for the privileged few.. 40% of all advertised consultant jobs are unfilled at the moment, and we need to look after our inpatients seven days a week. Unlike you, we haven't shirked that responsibility.

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  • How utterly depressing.

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