The House of Commons health and social care committee has launched an inquiry into the future of general practice, declaring that it is ‘in crisis’.
Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who chairs the committee, said it would be ‘one of our most important inquiries of the coming year’.
The MPs will examine challenges facing general practice in the NHS over the next five years, including:
- access to services and the impact of changes introduced during the pandemic such as online or virtual consultations;
- barriers to accessing services and the extent to which the Government and NHS England’s plans will address these issues will also be considered;
- regional variation in general practice;
- the general practice workload, and;
- the partnership model of general practice.
Mr Hunt said: ‘General practice is in crisis now with an utterly exhausted and demoralised workforce and patients increasingly uncertain of what they can expect. Yet it remains the beating heart of the NHS and essential to the prevention agenda – so how do we get there?
‘This will be one of our most important inquiries of the coming year.’
The committee is seeking views on:
- The main barriers to accessing general practice and how they can be addressed
- To what extent does the Government’s access plan address barriers in general practice
- Consequences of patients not able to see a GP how they wish
- The role of seeing named GP to continuity of care
- Key challenges general practice will face in the next five years
- How regional variation in England will shape those challenges
- The role of general practice in the prevention agenda
- How to reduce bureaucracy and burnout and improve morale
- Making general practice more sustainable in the long term
- The sustainability of the traditional partnership model given the workforce crisis, prioritisation of integrated care, and the move towards salaried GP posts
- Whether or not current GP contracting and payment structures support ‘proactive, personalised, coordinated and integrated’ care
- Whether or not PCNs have improved this kind of care and reduced the admin burden on GPs
- If general practice can work in effective partnerships with other job roles in primary care and beyond to free up more GP time for patients, and to what extent
Evidence can be submitted until 14 December.
Last week, a report by the NHS Confederation warned that primary care is the ‘greatest area of concern’ in the health and care system.
Additional reporting by Caitlin Tilley