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Patients must not be forced to choose between easier access and continuity of care

3 March 2015

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The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) says that reducing waiting times for a GP appointment must be a priority for politicians and the incoming government – but that this must not be delivered at the expense of other GP services, including the long-term care provided to patients with chronic and multiple health problems.

In its new report, Patient access to general practice: ideas and challenges from the front line, the RCGP examines a wide range of initiatives to increase patient access to general practice – but warns that this can only be achieved with increased funding and significantly more GPs.

It looks at the five main drivers for improving patient access to general practice – including maximising the potential of technology such as smart phone apps and web-based consultations, and extending opening hours by bringing practices together in “federations” to pool their resources.

The RCGP has also launched its Put patients first: Back general practice campaign, in partnership with the National Association of Patient Participation, calling for the share of the NHS budget for general practice to be increased to 11% by 2017 – and an additional 8,000 GPs in England by 2020.