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NHS England told to realise same-day GP pledge for over-75s

The Government has called on NHS England to ensure GPs start providing same-day appointments to patients aged over 75, under a new Government mandate aimed at delivering on a pre-election manifesto commitment.

The Department of Health says work on the pledge should begin this year on how to make sure GPs can provide patients with the same-day appointments ‘when needed’. 

The requirement is among a series of goals set by the DH in its latest NHS Mandate, which outlines the department’s expectations for the service for 2017/18.

It states that as part of this year’s goals, NHS England must ‘agree a programme of work to assess how best to meet the commitment that all over-75s will be able to access a same-day appointment with a GP if they need one’.

It comes after the Conservative Party made a manifesto pledge to guarantee people over 75 could access a same-day GP appointments ahead of the last general election

GP leaders previously said the pledge was too ‘simplistic’ and would ‘distort clinical priorities’ while Labour questioned how the Tories could fund it.

The new 2017/18 mandate also states that NHS England must make sure that ‘all care home residents at risk of admission to hospital are first seen by a GP or ambulance “see and treat” model’.

It also says that ‘a total of 40% of the population’ England should have access to ‘enhanced GP services, including evening and weekend access’ by the end of 2017/18.

It comes after last year’s NHS mandate – which also set out expecations through to 2020 – stated that 100% of the population should have evening and weekend GP access, and that new models of general practice should cover half the population by the end of 2020/21.

NHS England has already failed to deliver on a mandate to prepare the new ‘voluntary’ contract for multispecialty community providers for 2017/18 rollout, as none of NHS England’s six MCP pilot areas are ready to enter contractual arrangements from April as had been the plan.