Practices will be subject to ‘rigorous inspection’ with the appointment of a GP chief inspector, the Health Secretary is expected to announce on Thursday.
Later this week Jeremy Hunt will say that the problems seen in A&E are linked to the way GPs work.
His speech at the King’s Fund will introduce a new system of inspection that will aim to focus on whether GP practices are providing effective and responsive care.
Hunt will add that he wants practises to have a named doctor responsible for the care provided at all times.
The BBC reported he will say: “As a member of the public, I want to know my GP. And I want my GP to be someone that knows me and my family.
“Yet we’ve turned GP practices into places where it’s a daily challenge for receptionists to cope with huge call volumes and GPs to get through to all the people they need to see.”
However, his speech notes that he “does not blame NHS staff”, saying that GPs have become victims of a “box-ticking culture”.
He will emphasise that there needs to be a “renewed focus” on GP care and community services in order to relieve the pressure elsewhere.
Hunt will also set out proposals for patients who are in regular contact with community-based NHS services, particularly vulnerable older people, to be given a named healthcare professional to be in charge of their care – much as a hospital patient falls under the care of a named consultant.
The Daily Mail has quoted the Health Secretary as saying: “Everyone agrees that hospitals should only be a last resort for the frail elderly and that – for someone perhaps with dementia and other complex conditions – A&E departments can be extremely confusing places.
“But what alternatives do we offer? GP surgeries where it is often impossible to get an appointment the next day; same day appointments but only if you call at 8 o’clock in the morning sharp and are lucky getting through; long waits on the phone to get through, sometimes at premium rates; difficulty in registering with another practice if you move home, or aren’t happy with the service you are receiving; out-of-hours services where you speak to a doctor who doesn’t know you from Adam and has no access to your medical record.”