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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 | Sessional/Locum GP22 Oct 2016 1:59pm

    Agreeing concept has a basis is not the same as accepting we will do it or practical to do so. We need to differentiate our business obligation which needs to consider practicalities and clinical obligation which requires us to offer effective care for our patients. We must not let incompetent health secretary stop us from thinking how we can improve care.

    So on the latter hat on, I agree in principle. But with former hat on, Mr Hunt is talking rubbish!

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  • Yes, a one stop plan for GPs. Just one decision -- and GP work stops.
    Permanently.

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  • The only one stop shop that works is a private one with lots of funding.
    Instant radiology, lab reports and referrals.
    Not one where there is pressure on you not to investigate, prescribe or refer.
    Get real Jeremy! It is rationalized health care.

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  • Another foolish idea worthy of our SoS. The reason why the entire GP budget is as big as a hospital outpatient budget is because primary care is woefully underfunded. Rather than aiming to shrink the outpatient budget to match the GP budget why not have a meaningful needs assessment and discussion about the future of the health service? Cynical me thinks this is just another nail in the coffin of the NHS Jezza has promised to deliver to the Tories for the sake of privatising.

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  • Proof , if proof were needed that Jeremy Hunt is unfit to be secretary of state for health. Perhaps that is why he was given the job. It certainly applies to Capita-inefficiency by design.

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  • John Glasspool

    Does anyone believe funding will follow the new work?

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  • This comment has been removed by the moderator.

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  • locum work looking more attractive or even Australia - hmm.

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  • About time. A proper structured plan to shift resources out of hospitals into primary care, where they will be much better utilised. However, unless Jeremy can come up with loads more GPs, this won't happen any time soon. I suppose we can manage to an extent with additional specialist nurses, but only the GP can take full responsibility for patients and there just aren't enough of them. The only way to achieve this in the short term is to use a lot of nurse prescribers, pharmacists, etc to take a large swathe of GP workload.

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  • Can't anyone see the problem is a FREE
    primary care NHS
    In 1947 a terrible mistake was made
    primary care should be funded by the patient at the time of each consultation like veterinary medicine
    The state should keep its powder dry for secondary care where it is needed
    By making patients pay for all GP services you would in a stroke
    • reduce demand
    • encourage more doctors to be GP 's
    • make GP land more competitive and each GP will offer a.better service and do more
    Of course anyone on an income of say below 16K a year would not have to pay anything
    Hey presto every problem solved
    A and E depts would shut overnight
    boy would GP's up their game

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