The Conservative Party has pledged to recruit 12,000 more GPs, nurses, pharmacists and physiotherapists into general practice by 2025, the health secretary Matt Hancock has announced.
Mr Hancock committed on Saturday (9 November) to create 50 million more appointments in GP practices by 2024-25, should the Conservatives win a majority Government in the forthcoming general election. This would be achieved through the recruitment of 6,000 more doctors as well as 6,000 more non-GP staff including nurses, pharmacists and physiotherapists.
The 6,000 strong non-GP workforce are in addition to the 20,000 posts already promised as part of the GP contract in January, which includes pharmacists, social prescribing link workers, physiotherapists, paramedics and physician associates.
The plans will be backed by £2.5bn over the four years, with £300m allocated every year to recruit the 6,000 more nurses, pharmacists and physiotherapists, he added.
Nuffield Trust director of strategy Helen Buckingham said: ‘It’s positive that the Conservatives are proposing to look to well-qualified physiotherapists, nurses and pharmacists, who are needed to help support GP practices and often provide the most appropriate care for patients in the long run.
‘[However], we will need to be careful not to cause problems by pulling these staff from other equally important areas of the NHS, and patients might take time to get used to them.’
Chief executive of The King’s Fund, Richard Murray, said: ‘These new commitments to improve capacity and access in general practice are welcome, but the success of these measures will hinge on the ability to recruit and – more importantly – retain enough GPs and professionals such as physiotherapists and pharmacists.’
This month, the GMC said a new assessment for UK and overseas medical graduates will help boost international recruitment.