Welcome to #GPLondon
Liz Wise introduces #GPLondon — a campaign to celebrate general practice in the capital, shine a spotlight on its challenges, and explain what NHS England is doing to deliver the improvements set out in the General Practice Forward View.
London is the world’s greatest capital city. And, in my opinion, it has some of the most dedicated, passionate and talented General Practitioners (GPs).
90% of all patient contact with the NHS happens in primary care.
This results in 360 million consultations each year across England, and 60 million here in London.
GPs do a fantastic job in rising to the challenges of supporting the healthcare needs of a growing and changing capital city. That’s why, from 3–21 April 2017, we’ve decided to focus on the great work that is happening in London and celebrate what GPs and their teams do each day.
#GPLondon also provides a platform to explore some of the challenges faced by GPs.
We are keen for both patients and staff to directly share their experiences with us, so we can continue to work together to improve care.
We’ll also be talking about the progress made so far in delivering the improvements set out in the General Practice Forward View — published one year ago this month. It set out an ambitious vision to:
· improve patient care and access to GP services;
· find new ways of providing primary care;
· support struggling practices and workload pressures;
· improve GP facilities and technology; and
· expand the GP workforce — creating 5,000 more doctors working in primary care (and around 960 in London) by 2020/21.
London is making progress towards delivering these improvements, thanks to the tireless work of practices coupled with additional investment:
Access to GP services
Many patients who walk in to A&E could be treated in a primary care setting, such as a GP surgery. We want to make it easier for patients to get help from a GP, or another health professional, so London is investing approximately £52m across 2016/17 and 2017/18 in improving access to GP care.
The majority of Londoners are now able to book an appointment with a local GP from 8am — 8pm, 7 days a week at one of the GP access hubs located throughout the city. The aim is for all Londoners to have access to this service by the end of March 2018.
Of the London practices inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) so far, 14 are rated outstanding.
In spite of this great work, we know that there’s still too much variation in the quality of, and access to, care. We’re working to put this right.
Improving facilities and technology
London needs better facilities and technology better to give patients more information and wider access to services.
Last year, it was announced that new investment through the Estates and Technology Transformation Fund (ETTF) will improve facilities and technology in 62 primary care facilities across the capital, of which 18 will be new builds.
From 2016 -2019, London region’s investment in improving GP technology and facilities through the ETTF will total £68.3m — and more is expected to follow.
Supporting GPs to manage pressures
Rising workload was identified by the 2015 British Medical Association (BMA) survey as the single biggest issue of concern to GPs and their staff in England.
We need more GPs in the NHS — not fewer — so we must do all we can to support them to manage these pressures so they can provide the levels of care that Londoners need. As part of the GP Forward View, NHS England and London’s CCGs will this year invest around £4m in specialist, tailored support for GPs who in London who are vulnerable to workload or other pressures. 321 individual practices and 44 groups of practices are taking part. We expect more practices to take up offers of support as the programme continues over the next 2 years.
There are a number of areas in London where we need to increase the number of GPs, particularly as there are a higher than average proportion of GPs in London who are nearing retirement. We want to encourage new entrants and returners to the profession — so that there are approximately 960 more doctors working in primary care in London by 2020/21. That’s the equivalent of 30 more doctors per London CCG.
It’s important to note that primary care does not just mean general practices. Dentists, pharmacists, nurses and other staff all make up primary care. One year on from the anniversary of the GP Forward View, our spotlight for April will be on our GP community — while we also recognise the tremendous contribution made by all primary care professionals in London day in, day out.
From today, we’ll be using our blog site and our social media channels, including @NHSEnglandLDN on Twitter and Instagram, to promote our activity using the hashtag #GPLondon.
If you want to share a story that you have about primary care in London, please get in touch via email@example.com
Liz Wise is Director of Primary Care Commissioning — NHS England (London) & Programme Director — Transforming Primary Care, Healthy London Partnership.