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NHS England looking for ‘quick wins’ to improve GP access this year

NHS England looking for ‘quick wins’ to improve GP access this year

NHS England has set out a target to achieve ‘quick wins’ to improve access to GP practices before the end of the financial year.

As part of a new business plan for 2022/23 published this week, NHS England set out improving ‘access to primary care’ as one of its ten ‘key commitments’.

The document pointed to the Fuller Stocktake and said NHS England would work to improve access by developing an ‘implementation plan’ for the stocktake ‘while moving to achieve quick wins in 2022/23’.

Dr Claire Fuller’s landmark stocktake recommended in May that urgent same-day appointments should be dealt with by ‘single, urgent care teams’ across larger populations.

NHS England’s business plan said: ‘The Fuller Stocktake sets out the need for a differentiated and personalised patient offer and recommended the creation of integrated neighbourhood teams and more at-scale working to improve same-day access for urgent care and personalised care for those who need it most. 

‘We will develop an implementation plan in collaboration with local systems, while moving to achieve quick wins in 2022/23.’

Pulse asked NHS England for more details on what these ‘quick wins’ are and what actions it is planning to take in order to achieve them.

However, NHS England refused to provide any clarification.

A spokesperson said: ‘The business plan sets out our high-level plans for improving access to primary care. 

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‘Further detail on implementation will be released in due course.’

The document set out commitments to ‘improve access to general practice by increasing the number of appointments, enabled by the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS), and supporting primary care networks to deliver the enhanced access service’.

It also said it would ‘support retention of the primary care workforce and the recruitment to and embedding of multidisciplinary team roles through continuing to deliver a suite of GP recruitment and retention initiatives and increasing the capacity of direct patient care roles in primary care via the ARRS’. 

Other moves to ‘improve access to primary care’ included:

  • Greater focus on ‘personalised care’ through the publication of the network DES personalised care specification and ‘clear guidance for the operation of personalised care’, alongside additional training 
  • Implementing GP referrals to the community pharmacy consultation service, a pharmacy smoking cessation service and a ‘community discharge medication service’ to ‘leverage the benefits of community pharmacy’
  • Developing ‘new models of care’ such as ‘Hospital at Home and urgent community response teams’ and implementing a ‘new intermediate care framework’ and electronic patient records

It comes as the media regulator this week ruled that Mail Online did not breach journalist code by publishing an article claiming that GP access is behind a crisis in England’s A&E departments.

The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) has said it will appeal against the regulator’s rejection of its complaint against the GP-bashing article.

Meanwhile, the BMA has said that NHS England will step in to find alternative solutions with local commissioners if PCNs cannot ‘safely’ deliver the controversial Saturday and evening access required under the PCN DES.

NHS England’s top ten commitments for 2022/23

This plan doesn’t describe everything we will do, but highlights our key commitments for 2022/23 under ten headings that reflect the main themes of our mandate from the Government: 

  1. Support the NHS to attract and retain more people, working differently in a compassionate and inclusive culture. 
  2. Continue to lead the NHS in responding to COVID-19 ever more effectively.
  3. Deliver more elective care to tackle the elective backlog, reduce long waits and improve performance against cancer waiting times standards. 
  4. Improve the responsiveness of urgent and emergency care and increase its capacity. 
  5. Improve access to primary care. 
  6. Improve mental health services and services for people with a learning disability and/or autistic people. 
  7. Deliver improvements in maternity care. 
  8. Prevent ill health and tackle health inequalities. 
  9. Drive the integration of care and enable change. 
  10. Improve productivity and reduce variation across the health system 

Source: NHS England



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Grant Jonathan Ingrams 12 August, 2022 10:23 am

This is typical @NHSE&I. Press release stating that they will achieve something but no detail published at the time. It is all smoke and mirrors. There has been no practice changes to attract/retain staff, but plenty to encourage more GPs to leave. Why do they hate GPs so much.

Paul Scott 12 August, 2022 10:48 am

Given only NHS England haven’t funded in full the 4.5% DDRB pay rise and most practices are already providing more access than pre-covid, how do they reconcile this with this new 2.4% disinvestment (given staffing is most of our expenses, let alone utility increases) and implied reduction in services? Struggling practices are already being advised to reduce sessions to break even. Others are handing back their contracts. From the NHSE perspective are quick wins the speedening up of the destruction of core general practice?

Simon Ruffle 12 August, 2022 10:51 am

“However, NHS England refused to provide any clarification.”
Leadership at its best.

Nick Mann 12 August, 2022 10:53 am

“Dr Claire Fuller’s landmark stocktake recommended in May that urgent same-day appointments should be dealt with by ‘single, urgent care teams’ across larger populations.”
…and then what?

Fragmenting GP services into urgent and chronic streams was part of STP plans in 2015. It was a bad idea then and now risks destabilising further our parlous NHS service.
Continuity saves lives, enables good clinical care, and it is what makes general practice make sense. Why should the first appointment be treated differently?

So, Fuller report is a re-hash of old STP ‘Global Health’ inspired restructuring, disingenuously presented as a solution to a crisis (it isn’t). A specious reason to carry on what NHSE has always intended to do, regardless.

David jenkins 12 August, 2022 10:54 am

here’s an idea –

why not sort out the pensions crisis, like you did with judges and other important people (like politicians) ?

at least that way you MIGHT slow down the haemorrhage of experienced staff.

haven’t they heard the story of offa’s dyke ?

as tesco says “every little helps” !!

Truth Finder 12 August, 2022 12:06 pm

How about actually making work pay rather than penalizing people’s pension if they work harder and not funding GP surgeries to match all the price rises?
How about stopping all the pretty useless yearly mandatory woke training that everyone already knows.
BMA, please take us all the dentist way. It is the only way we can mitigate against costs rather than begging useless Quango organizations.

Cameron Wilson 12 August, 2022 12:12 pm

Suspect all elements of Govt have been given similar brief! Quick fix for Police, Quick fix for Education, Quick fix for Energy, Quick fix for Defence, Quick fix for You Name It! I have no Political allegiences or agendas but this country appears to be going down the U-bend rapidly, a big dose of reality is coming our way, can’t say I have much faith in this mob (on all sides ) to sort! Really is ” Man the Lifeboats” stuff, bloomin depressing to say the least, anyway life’s too short but NHSE can continue living in Fantasy Land for as long as they want, just ignore as usual!!

Dylan Summers 12 August, 2022 12:39 pm

Go for the quick wins.

What a great idea!

Presumably until now we’ve all been looking for the slowest, hardest, most unpromising ways to improve services. Thank heaven NHSE has pointed us in this new direction!

Dave Haddock 12 August, 2022 12:50 pm

A £10 charge for booking an appointment would dramatically improve access, particularly if GP Practices could keep the money

David Mummery 12 August, 2022 1:24 pm

Might an organisation that rhymes with raspberry mivvi ( remember those ?) be involved ?!

Bonglim Bong 12 August, 2022 1:48 pm

There is something truly ridiculous about saying individualised personalised care should be achieved through…..
the network LES personalised care specification.

Its ridiculously obvious that small practices working independently deliver more personalised care with proven benefits to both individual patients and the health economy. You have to be truly committed to your unproven, useless idea that bigger means better to think a tick box on a sheet is going to do the job.

Perhaps start listening to people who actually know how General Practice works.

Anthony Lamb 12 August, 2022 1:56 pm

Reading that jargon-laden BS was nauseating enough. Is the author still with us or did he/she choke on their own word salad?

Patrufini Duffy 12 August, 2022 3:02 pm

Ten headings of copy and pasted bull. NHSE is a cover-up, and their “spokespersons” better be ready for the whistleblowers lining up. Game is over. Institutes are found out. No one cares.
Re-read and bullet point that.

David Jarvis 12 August, 2022 4:04 pm

Quick wins wanted from th overarching management of the NHS. Am I wrong to expect structured well thought out plans for staffing, service development, education, estates development and emergency action plans. It seemed the CQC wanted such stuff from us. Could they inspect and put NHS england in special measures. Frankly whhat are they actually doing in their posh offices. In what way may they be missed if someone bombed their office (on a weekday mind as I suspect nobody there at the weekend)

Turn out The Lights 12 August, 2022 4:13 pm

Friday after lunch like the rest of nhs management elites workings from home with a bottle of Pinot.Well before the work force knocks off.

Jonathan Heatley 12 August, 2022 4:33 pm

Perhaps if they took their boots off our necks we would be able to work more efficiently?

A Non 13 August, 2022 8:22 pm

These are the words of thick as pig shite highly intelligent management consultant ‘elites’ A British disease that spread from the USA in the 1990s. Do a degree then get an MBA, join a ‘prestigious consultancy’ and charge MASSIVE fees to impose inappropriate and largely untested management theory on industries you have no experience of. Walk away, completely anonymous and watch as everything just gets worse to await you next return booking in a year or two.

stephen mann 14 August, 2022 7:36 pm

NHS England, ‘looking for quick wins’ Why don’t they just explain to their political masters that this is not achievable . The system is terminally fractured and the public who fund this should be made aware of this situation

paul cundy 14 August, 2022 8:29 pm

Dear All,
Well if NHSE haven’t got a clue as to what a quick win looks like here’s my suggestion;
1) Stop having meetings for managers about winter preparedness
2) use the saved resources to give me more money for me to spend of the sort of staff my practice needs.
Paul C

Simon Gilbert 15 August, 2022 9:23 am

It would be interesting if someone did a trial where some practices were randomly allocated 50% more funding, guaranteed for 3 years, with no strings, and see how short term patients outcomes and NHS usage changed.

Avradeep Chakrabarti 15 August, 2022 10:47 am

Am I the only one that find the idea of ‘quick wins’ as demeaning?

This notion of a ‘quick win’ allows NHSE to try and collect some brownie points at the expense of us and pushes the narrative that we’ve been doing f-all through the pandemic.

If I seem to be coming home late, yet still working remotely till midnight and my days off and appear to NOT be on a golf course, what the feck have I been doing?

Unless NHSE can speed up evolution, I can see myself growing several new arms and an additional brain to deal with this avalanche of work and demand!

Long Gone 15 August, 2022 12:23 pm

“Quick wins”? QUICK WINS??!!
Even if this worked (see below) the worst thing would happen – almost guaranteed. “They” would imagine that the crisis is all over and we can get back to letting General Practice wither quietly away.

But most tellingly, we didn’t get here “quickly”. It was years of enervating tosh from the CQC, GMC, NHSE, HMG policy, media vilification, pensions mis-management, etc, etc (ask any early GP retiree – you shouldn’t have difficulty finding one!) – that’s how we got into this very sorry state. So as per Avradeep’s comments, it’s highly demeaning and complete folly to look for “quick wins”!

Why are we managed by complete idiots with severe chronic Dunning Kruger syndrome?

Long Gone 15 August, 2022 12:31 pm

Bonglim Bong – spot on. The mantra/cult around “working at scale” is toxic cant. Ever been a patient on the receiving end of “working at scale”? If you have, you’ll know. Dreadful.
And smaller practices deliver not only more humane and palatable care but more cost effective. “Managing demand” is not an oxymoron for small practices BECAUSE THEY KNOW (KNEW!) THEIR PATIENTS!!

Andrew F 15 August, 2022 4:21 pm

Verbally they may be looking for “quick wins”, but the money says they are looking for quick loses, otherwise they would not have boosted pay for staff and salaried GPs without also boosting funding, thereby ensuring that practices will cut patient facing services to balance the books.