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