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Look Forward to the View
Well it’s out; NHS England has published the long awaited General Practice Forward View, setting out support for primary care over the next five years. After persistent campaigning by GPs and associated organisations it appears that some solutions have been put forward such as practical and funded steps to grow and develop the workforce, driving efficiencies in workload and relieving demand, modernising infrastructure and technology, whilst supporting practices to redesign the way modern primary care is offered to patients. However, there is of course scepticism about how this will really affect general practice but I’m remaining hopeful for the future. A long term plan is welcomed, and overdue, but how do we get through the next few years?
What about the additional funding?
With an allocation of £2.4 billion surely this is a huge step in the right direction to help GP practices? There is already a £322m primary medical care allocation for 2016/17. That money is to be allocated to providers who urgently needed it in order to deliver the services required. I would hope this will enable these practices to achieve what they need to do in order to meet the requirements and evidence this at CQC inspections. Hopefully the funding will enable practices to deliver specific services to meet the needs of the 5 key patient population groups and ensure that we are able to deal with the growing number of more complex patients. It will be interesting to look back and see how the £508 million one-off transformation fund was managed by CCGs, if they were able to, and how these figures provided real investment for practices.
What about the additional staffing?
NHS England and the RCGP support the creation of 5,000 new GPs by 2020, and hopefully the GP returners’ programme has a good outcome. Maybe we can even successfully tackle the issue of recruiting GPs from abroad to enable them to contribute to our NHS and help us to improve the health of our patients. I really hope that the opportunity for pharmacists and paramedics to work with GP practices is positive and valuable. With no end in sight to the increasing workload it will be fascinating to see how medical assistants integrate and support GPs in providing safe and effective care.
This model is based on GP practices working together and, learning from recent pilot schemes, developing something much better federated than the vanguard models. Now we have a plan we need implementation and deadline dates. I feel hopeful that this will invigorate general practice and give us something new to get our teeth into, leading to further innovations in patient care. There is no perfect solution and we must accept that but rise to the challenge we must, as we always do.