The investment in primary care will be dependent on the professions commitment to a seven-day NHS, Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for health, today announced.
Over the next three years, £750 million will be allocated to invest in GP premises, so “every city and many towns will be able to see the visible signs of improvement in primary care facilities”.
This comes after £1bn was announced last year to be invested in premises over four years in the Primary Care Fund, and more than 1,000 practices have now had their bids approved by NHS England.
“Deals are about two parties. If we are going to have a new deal I need your support,” he said, speaking this morning at the Nelson Medical Practice in South West London.
Hunt said: “I am keeping my pledge to announce a new deal for general practice… Now deals have two parties, so I want to be upfront: this is not about change I can deliver on my own. If we are to have a new deal I will need your cooperation and support – both in improving the quality and continuity of care for vulnerable patients and delivering better access, seven days a week, for everyone…
“Work together on a new deal and we really can transform the quality of primary and community services for patients, reduce burnout and put the inspiration and magic back into general practice. I hope you will join me on that journey,” he said.
He said that evidence shows that Sunday is the second busiest day in A&E, and Hunt said that we need to address this collectively, not just to help hospitals but to respond to busy working families.
He also pledged 10,000 extra primary care staff, including 5,000 GPs, as well as practice nurses, district nurses and pharmacists. To encourage recruitment there will be a national marketing campaign, led by the Royal College of GPs and the British Medical Association, to encourage medical students to join general practice.
Trainees will also be offered another year of training in a clinical specialty, such as paediatrics, psychiatry and emergency medicine.
For existing GPs there will be new flexible for GPs who wish to work part-time, as well as extra support for those wishing to return to the profession.