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Labour will pay GPs more for providing continuity of care

Labour will pay GPs more for providing continuity of care

The Labour party wants to give GP practices financial incentives to let patients see the same doctor every time, in a bid to boost continuity of care.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said he wants to end the ‘like it or lump it’ approach to patient access, confirming this would mean practices offering poorer continuity of care receiving less money. 

Writing in The Telegraph yesterday, Mr Streeting claimed patents are increasingly ‘made to bend their lives to suit the health service’ and pledged to give them back ‘control over their own healthcare’.

He claimed that being able to maintain this ‘meaningful’ relationship with patients will also help with retention, as more GPs will want to stay in the job. 

Mr Streeting said: ‘The NHS exists to serve its patients. It’s in the name. To serve patients means to provide them with the healthcare they need in a way that suits them. 

‘Increasingly, patients are instead made to bend their lives to suit the health service. Fewer patients today are able to see the doctor of their choice, making do with whoever is available. 

‘For patients with complex conditions, this means repeating their medical history at every appointment to a doctor who is less equipped to understand their health needs.’

He went on to question why someone who ‘prefers to see their GP face-to-face’ should ‘have to make do with a phone call’.

And he added: ‘A public service shouldn’t be telling the public, “like it or lump it”. Labour will give back patients control over their own healthcare.’

Mr Streeting said this will see Labour ‘bringing back the family doctor’, so that ‘patients can see the same GP at each appointment if they choose to’.

‘GP practices will be provided with incentives to offer patients continuity of care so that more patients can see the same clinician each time,’ he said.

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‘GPs value this relationship with their patients. Give GPs the tools to build a meaningful relationship with patients and more will stay in the job.’

According to The Telegraph, funding will be redistributed across practices according to how well they provide continuity of care, meaning that some will receive less money for having poorer performance.

Responding to the proposals, chair of the BMA’s GP Committee for England Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer said the ‘only way’ to deliver continuity of care and give back patients control is to ‘retain the GPs we have’. 

She said that the equivalent of five million patients have ‘lost’ their GP since 2015 due to workforce decline, and GPs at ‘breaking point’ are leaving the service.

‘Every GP strives to deliver the best care to our patients in the most appropriate way we can based on patient choice, but the reality of the chronic workforce shortage makes this an impossible ask against the backdrop of increasing demand from a growing – and ageing – population,’ Dr Bramall-Stainer added.

Last year Mr Streeting promised a Labour Government would allow patients a choice over whether their appointment is face to face or remote.

In his opinion piece, he noted this saw the BMA accusing Labour of being ‘divisive’ and ‘headline-grabbing’, but he argued the party can ‘overcome opposition to patient choice, providing that we give GPs the tools to do the job’.

Labour announced plans in January to allow patients to self-refer to secondary care without needing a GP referral, in a bid to reduce the ‘bureaucratic nonsense’ within the NHS.

Mr Streeting also said he wanted to ‘tear up’ the ‘murky, opaque’ GP contract and was considering abolishing the GP partnership model in favour of a salaried service. 

However, he has since rowed back slightly on this issue, confirming in April that Labour remains ‘open-minded’ about the future of the partnership model and is considering all options.

Meanwhile, in June, Mr Streeting indicated that Labour may ‘over time’ give general practice a larger percentage of NHS funding.



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

Decorum Est 29 August, 2023 12:12 pm

‘Mr Streeting promised’ – ‘sums it so well’ etc

M Rain 29 August, 2023 12:57 pm

GP partnership model is not truly independent as government of the day can chose to fund provision of the service as it prefers. It is possible for patients to see the same GP they want each time but they would have to wait for their turn and the availability of an appointment. It would be easy for single handed GP practices as they do not have anyone else seeing their patients, however for larger practices with more than one clinicians, it would create a waiting list of patients wanting to see a clinician of their choice. I suppose this new problem of GP waiting list could wait until it is time for next general election, no, not the one next year, the one after it.

Nicola Williams 29 August, 2023 12:59 pm

He wants a private service without paying for it then…..
Clueless ….

fareed bhatti 29 August, 2023 4:16 pm

What a stupid claim- pts having to bend their lives to meet the healthcare!.
Thats what happens you idiot…
You fall ill and must make arrangements to see a doctor. Not everything can be done online or immediately. And if we did try to do things remotely you’ll whinge that GPs don’t see pts. You have destroyed the partnership model and GP training and now wistfully hope for the family doctor that everyone trusted. That image and model is long gone. The mere demand and complexity has ensured it never mind the funding and other constraints.
Mr S wants to incentivise GPs giving up any hope of a life and camp in the surgeries instead of going home, eating out of ready meals(incentives you know..) being given out by labour party vans.
Every time he opens his mouth he yaps out something more idiotic. I think right now all he needs to do for Labour to win is to shut up. Someone tape up his bloody face!

Nathaniel Dixon 29 August, 2023 5:25 pm

I’d argue a healthier, happier and more sensible society would prioritise health and would make accessing it a priority rather than demanding it be fitted around a whole range of more trivial matters…

Dave Haddock 29 August, 2023 7:05 pm

Streeting promising to spend more money.
Reeves promising not to increases taxes.
Same old Labour.

Dr No 29 August, 2023 9:19 pm

So we’ll be paid less for failing to provide continuity of care. I’m all for F2F however. All remote access and IT solutions should be scrapped. They are fundamentally unsafe and exist only because of the scarcity of F2F. Yet they are just as time consuming and involved, an absolutely false economy. Streeting’s comments increasingly confirm for me that Labour have no radical solutions for GP. It’s over. I no longer recognise the job I’ve got really quite good at (so I’m told) yet can now no longer do in this environment. Too sad to be rude this evening.

Dr N 29 August, 2023 11:07 pm

Barclay v Wes is as imponderbale as Biden v Trump.

Douglas Callow 30 August, 2023 1:24 pm

Every time this guy does a piece for the media he confirms :
1 ambition to be the party leader
2 He is up for a bit of populism and polarisation
3 our lack of confidence he is going to offer much that’s helpful to for general practice
4 taxes will rise but the state will get smaller and quality of public services diminish

Liam Topham 30 August, 2023 1:48 pm

and an ethically-sourced flat-white from the waiting-room coffee machine and a fresh copy of the The Guardian to read whilst you wait (very briefly) for the family Doctor of your choice ..

Truth Finder 30 August, 2023 3:36 pm

A lot of hot air and empty promises of a politician again.

Andrew Marshall 30 August, 2023 4:48 pm

The headline should be ‘GPs to be paid less for providing the only viable service’

Cameron Wilson 30 August, 2023 6:14 pm

He can promise as much as he wants in the safe knowledge it’s not going to be possible, but heyho, it gets him a headline! Just hope the beleaguered single handers, who have been hammered over the years, fill their boots!
Just wait, it will be PCN attached to avoid this scenario.

win win 30 August, 2023 9:07 pm

He says the patient has to repeat history ” tell me you are ignorant without telling.