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Hunt to announce new ‘package’ to ease GP pressure next month

The health secretary will announce a new package of measures in February designed to ‘address growing pressures on GPs’, he has said today.

The move is expected to detail how the Government intends to spend the 4-5% additional funding announced for general practice last year.

This additional funding is derived from the £8bn additional funding promised by the Treasury for the NHS.

The DH said that a package of measures would be developed in consultation with the GPC and the RCGP and announced next month.

There will be further steps to increase the GP workforce, including incentives to keep GPs in the profession, the DH said.

Mr Hunt said in a statement: ‘I am determined that we will address growing pressures on GPs and do even more to support the profession – so in February, we’ll be announcing a new package of measures consulting with the Royal College of GPs and the GPC on this.’

He added that the CQC will be looking to ‘streamline their inspections’, as previously announced by the regulator.

Mr Hunt said: ‘On top of this, I want to increase the proportion of funding going into general practice, so with NHS England we are now promising to invest 4-5% more per year in general practice for the rest of this Parliament on top of the extra funding CCGs will put into primary care.’

Last year, the health secretary announced his heavily-trailed ‘new deal’, which included a range of measures, including many previously announced plans.

However, it was criticised by GPs, with the BMA’s Annual Representatives Meeting accusing the health secretary of putting the ‘very existence’ of general practice in danger.

NHS England announced last month that the budget for general practice will increase by 4.2% this year, to £7.65bn. The funding increases for general practice will be ‘disproportionately higher’ than for other services, it said.