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MPs launch inquiry into reducing demand for GP appointments

A group of MPs have launched a review into how levels of demand for GP appointments can be reduced.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Primary Care and Public Health has asked for written contributions by 3 April and will take oral evidence in May and June.

The group will be looking at the case for a national strategy for managing demand in primary care.

It said this comes amid the Government calling on GP practices to help reduce pressure in accident and emergency departments by increasing access.

But also as GPs and their staff cite workload as their single biggest issue of concern, amid declining numbers of full-time GPs, and as many GP appointments (27%) are estimated to be avoidable.

The MPs want to know:

  1. What needs to happen and who needs to be involved to help assist people in looking after their own (a) minor self-limiting illnesses and (b) long term conditions?
  2. Is it necessary to commission self care and how can this be done effectively?
  3. What training is necessary to support primary care staff in educating people to look after themselves and who is providing this training?
  4. How can local health expertise such as pharmacy, health coaches,patient groups and charities, etc be incorporated into the system to help manage demand?
  5. What else has to happen to improve joint working locally to engage people in their health and wellbeingand so reduce servicedemand?
  6. What impact have Government policies such as the Five Year Forward View and GP Forward View had in managing demand and how can we move towards that much sought after whole-systems NHS?