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Andrea Leadsom: ‘I will fight to protect the principles of general practice’

Andrea Leadsom: ‘I will fight to protect the principles of general practice’

Primary care minister Andrea Leadsom champions the integral role of GPs and lays out her plans to protect the profession

General practice is the beating heart of our health system. A first port of call when we feel unwell, an early warning system for potentially more serious conditions, and a constant companion in our care across the generations.

As GPs and practice staff, you are the health professionals we engage with most and, as such, provide familiarity, a shared history and that most important commodity of all – person-centred care.

I hope you know how much your support means to the patients and carers who attend your practices seeking reassurance and advice, not just diagnoses or referrals.

You really are the whole package, and I can’t imagine a health system functioning without general practice at its core.

Indeed, as adults and parents, many of us will have attended the same surgery since we were children and now attend with our own. There is huge comfort and reassurance in that fact, knowing you and your colleagues are there for us from cradle to grave.

There is another reason why primary care and your roles within it are so highly valued and why this government remains committed to protecting it, your support for secondary care, primarily our hospitals and specialist clinics.

Your contribution is two-fold.

Firstly, diagnosing illnesses or lifestyle choices which could lead to more serious, difficult, and expensive conditions to treat later on.

Second, providing vital healthcare and information to your clinical colleagues, helping to make hospital stays as brief as possible and working with local health and care services to facilitate timely discharge and rehabilitation where needed.

Both help reduce costs and allow the NHS to target people and resources where they are needed most.

This is a wide and complex brief and I know you likewise want to focus your skills and experience where they can add most value.

Which is why you don’t go to work each day to battle bureaucracy, fuss over financials or wrestle with recruitment, you do it to improve the health and wellbeing of patients.

In some areas, worries around workload, funding and staffing issues have led to declining job satisfaction, evidenced by some GPs feeling the need to adopt more flexible work patterns, including reduced hours.

That’s why we want to give you the tools and freedoms to do what you do best – deliver high quality, community-focused healthcare to those who need it most, without compromising your own health, wellbeing and job satisfaction. We are committed to reducing laborious admin, smoothing recruitment processes and streamlining financial processes to help deliver that positive outcome.

On this point, I was disappointed to see the BMA misrepresent GP 2024/25 contract changes as final. Funding included in the contract for pay growth is a planning assumption, pending the Government’s response to the DDRB’s (Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration) report.

Regardless of its recommendations, we have listened to your feedback and sought to make the 2024/25 contract arrangements more flexible and its requirements less prescriptive. The new contract provides one of the biggest reductions of unnecessary and burdensome bureaucracy in 20 years, freeing up valuable time with patients, while also giving you greater autonomy to run local practices.

To help improve cash flow, the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) payment threshold rises from 70% to 80% for 2024/25.

As many of you will know, QOF indicators are measures with points awarded, based on how well a practice has performed previously, and now 32 of 76 indicators are income-protected.

Meanwhile, the Capacity and Access Payment (CAP) increases by £46m to £292m. Primary Care Networks (PCNs) have the discretion to use this funding according to local needs. 

We have also amended the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme to include more roles and remove caps to enable PCNs to recruit the staff when and where they need them.

Clinical director role requirements have also been simplified which, combined with these changes, provide practices and PCNs with greater autonomy and timeliness to deliver for their local populations.

Looking ahead, the Government will continue to engage with the sector on the issues that matter most to them. To this end, I am convening a Taskforce on the Future of General Practice over the spring and summer.

I’m bringing together GPs and practice staff, alongside stakeholders including the BMA’s England GP committee, the Royal College of General Practitioners, patient representative groups, and Integrated Care Systems.

I believe this sends a clear message that we cherish the principles, values and community outreach general practice embodies and I for one will fight to protect them. We must take care of the health professionals who do so much to take good care of us. You can be assured this government has already set in motion changes to deliver the services you want, and your patients deserve.

Health minister Dame Andrea Leadsom holds the primary care portfolio and is MP for South Northamptonshire



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

Douglas Callow 14 May, 2024 4:28 pm

oh dear its a kind of gaslighting by a minister from a party that most have stopped listening to

So the bird flew away 14 May, 2024 6:37 pm

Shouldn’t take the bait but I’m disgusted by this article. Seething with self-aware sophism and served with the ever-present artful smile, really Andrea needs to start packing her bags and planning her career next steps.

Peter Jones 14 May, 2024 6:51 pm

General Practice needs funding for more GP’s, not ‘Additional Roles’. Pretty basic really.

Dr No 14 May, 2024 9:08 pm

My God this woman has some nerve coming to this place and inflicting on us such a load of dull and predictable tripe. This could have been written by an average 6th former having spent an hour or two reading about primary care. Clueless and insulting. Let’s hope she’s unemployed in a few months time, although in reality probably raking it in at the private sector. God I HATE the Tories.

A W 14 May, 2024 10:05 pm

What kind of domestic abuse is this? Telling us how important we are whist at the same time directly funding our lesser qualified cheaper replacements.
Why even bother with the empty platitudes and saccharine charade?…it’s fooling no-one.

Peter Scott 14 May, 2024 10:50 pm

Go Leadsom,
Go now
Just go
Anywhere that you can do no further damage to primary care and the healthcare of the population

Grant Ingrams 14 May, 2024 11:03 pm

I am not interested in what politicians say but only in what they do. So far her actions say that she and the government she represents either does not ‘get general practice or more likely just hate us.

Adam Crowther 15 May, 2024 7:08 am

GP core contract increase 1.9% all spent +++ on staff pay increases and necessary increased expenditures , so a GP contractor pay cut this year. Meanwhile MPs award themselves 5.5% with no strings 🤔

David Church 15 May, 2024 1:19 pm

She will not be there much longer, either way!

Not on your Nelly 15 May, 2024 3:39 pm

what a waste of a page. Typical politicians babble with no insight or help for GPs on the ground . Can’t get the 3 minutes I lost reading this drivel back sadly.

Nigel Dickson 15 May, 2024 5:45 pm

Surely she’s just having a laugh – for the last 14 years her conservative party have steadily hammered General Practice down to the stage it is now tipping over the edge. Gradual reducing the share of NHS funding going into General Practice and increasing the individual GP’s workload for overall less take home pay as GP workforce has shrunk – she must think GP’s are stupid?