The Government knows this winter will be tough for our NHS, but we are taking action now so that patients can get the care they need. That is why, today, the Health and Social Care Secretary has announced our Plan for Patients, prioritising ambulances, backlogs, care and doctors and dentists. The Government will improve patients’ access to GP practices, recruit additional support staff, give pharmacies powers to prescribe more medicines and introduce cloud-based telephone systems to GP practices.
Our Plan for Patients will do this by:
- Changing funding rules to recruit extra support staff, freeing up over one million appointments per year.
- By changing the funding rules, GP practices will be able to recruit additional support staff, such as GP assistants and advanced nurse practitioners – allowing GPs to focus on treating patients and freeing up over one million appointments per year.
- The Health Secretary has set out her expectations that everyone who needs one should get an appointment at a GP practice within two weeks, and that the patients with the most urgent needs should be seen within the same day.
- Publishing appointment data at practice level for the first time ever – helping patients to better understand the care they will receive.
- By publishing appointment data at practice level, we will support patients in getting better access to information about their treatments, allowing them to make decisions that best suit them.
- Helping pharmacies to manage and supply more medicines, freeing up to two million GP appointments per year.
- By allowing pharmacies to manage and supply medicines, such as contraceptives, without a GP prescription, we will help to free up to two million GP appointments each year, and taking referrals from emergency care for minor illnesses or symptoms, such as a cough, headache or sore throat.
- Allowing pharmacies to take referrals for minor illnesses from emergency care, helping to reduce NHS wait times for patients.
- By allowing pharmacies to take referrals from emergency care for illnesses such as coughs, headaches, and sore throats, we will free up valuable time and resources in emergency care departments, helping to reduce wait times.
- Accelerating the roll-out of new cloud-based telephone systems, making it easier for patients to get through to their local GP practice, from November.
- This will make it easier for patients to arrange appointments and receive advice about their care.
- Calling on the one million volunteers who stepped up during the pandemic to support the NHS to come forward again.
- During the pandemic, over one million volunteers stepped up to support our NHS, and we are calling on them to come forward again in a national endeavour such as by becoming community first responders or Good Neighbour Scheme leaders.
Our Plan for Patients will build on the NHS winter plan and set out further detail on how the public will receive the care they need this winter and next across the Health and Social Care Secretary’s A, B, C and D priorities - ambulances, backlogs, care and doctors and dentists.
To view the ‘Our Plan for Patients’ policy paper, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-plan-for-patients/our-plan-for-patients.