The BMA has published template letters to support practices and LMCs to engage with their Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) on the implementation of the GP recovery plan.
The templates include a letter for practices to report to their ICB any requirements unfulfilled by the supplier and requesting their ICB to take the necessary actions to rectify this.
The second template letter is for LMCs and practices to request their ICB to provide their plan for ensuring expectations are met by all secondary care providers, information on how this will be reviewed annually, and a method by which practices and LMCs can report where requirements are not being met.
In May, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) jointly published their delivery plan for recovering access to primary care, setting out how they intended to tackle the ‘8am rush’ and make it easier and quicker for patients to access primary care services.
The plan highlighted improvements needed in the primary secondary care interface and placed the requirement on ICBs to ensure, for example, that discharge letters highlight clear actions for general practice including prescribing medications required, and for patients to have a clear route to contact secondary care for follow-up tests and appointments without having to ask their practice to follow up on their behalf.
The BMA said that while some of its recommendations were incorporated into the plan, it failed to address the severe inflationary cost pressures on practices and expressed concerns that cuts to public health funding and a lack of investment in practices and community pharmacies will negate the commitments set out.
At the time the plan was published, Dr Kieran Sharrock, acting chair of the BMA England GP committee, said: ‘Whilst we welcome the planned investment and innovative new ways that will support our profession in delivering care, there doesn’t seem to be much in the plan about how we stop GPs leaving the profession, or how we retain the staff that we already have.’