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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)

  • Anonymous | Work for health provider20 Oct 2016 6:08pm
    I think maybe you forgot to take your pills this morning. What are you bleedin on about?? Cookoo

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  • Great. I can't wait to manage the most complex diabetics and renal failure patients to name few, for peanuts, whilst the hospital consultants can crack on with important things like their private clinics

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  • Vinci Ho

    While the rise in workload is the obvious issue (with or without so called adequate funding) , the bottom line here is transfer of responsibility and hence , liability to us. Crown indemnity is almost indisputable if this is to be the case.
    The level of expertise as well as the bread and butter number of GPs ,are the fundamentals, unless there will be concurrent capacity of specialists in the same locality in the community . As I said before , the meaning of resources is including expertise , manpower , time and lastly, money . All four must be co-existing NOT one thing leads to another .
    Ultimately , general practice is widely exposed as a target shield to be receptive to all arrows of demand fired from the public .......
    Where is Simon on this? He needs to give his statement .......

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  • I thought 12000 more GPs were needed according to last weeks Pulse.

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  • surely we GPs only refer things to secondary care that we cant manage and that definitely includes end stage renal failure. we already do most of type 1 DM other than those on insulin. I don't think were competent to do much more than we do. What is he trying to say. that we should work outside of our competency and put patients at risk?

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  • He is trying to say that he wants to bring the whole of the NHS to its knees as fast as possible so the NHS will fail and he can get his directorship of PPP and major cash windfall.
    Look at all the government edits over the past few months... how many dont fit into this plan? Exactly!

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  • We are Capitation contract mugs. The shit will keep piling up......

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  • What Jezza is trying to say:

    "We would like to cut costs and ask GPs to do the work for less than we pay secondary care"

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  • Saying words is very different from actually making us implement them. Please. Don't be so passive as to feel that this man's imaginations will suddenly become contractual obligations. Given his performance at the recent court hearings, the worst he can do is suggest his ideas to the nhse stooges.

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  • No offence intended but the GPs I encounter are clueless* about managing insulin and diabetes care in general practice amounts to little more than a tick box exercise where qualifying for points means more than providing decent patient care.

    Why bother training diabetologists for years if the work can be done after a 6 month rotation as a junior doctor?

    And as per usual - do the patients on the receiving end of this "initiative" get any say in where they want their care to be performed?

    *Not to say that GPs couldn't become excellent diabetes specialists but if they spend a vast amount of time undertaking all the training and gaining all the required experience then they wouldn't have any time to be GPs.

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