GP surgeries will start to offer services to suit modern lifestyles, such as greater use of Skype, e-mail, phone consultations and online booking, the government announced today.
More than 7.5 million people in England will be given increased access to their GP, for example through 8am-8pm appointments and seven-day openings.
The £50 million GP Access Fund will support 1,147 practices across England to expand opening times and increase the use of technology to support patients who find it easier to hold consultations online or over the phone.
The money will also be used to enrol 800,000 over 75s with complex needs onto a ‘Transforming Primary Care’ programme. These patients will be offered an enhanced services including regularly reviewed individual care pans, same-day access to a GP when they need it, and a named GP responsible for their care.
Other GP services due to expand from May into next year include online booking of prescriptions and appointments, easier online registration with new GPs, joined-up urgent and out-of-hours care and better access to ‘telecare’ and healthy living apps.
The government has pledged to train 10,000 more frontline community staff, including GPs and nurses, by 2020 as part of the ‘Transforming Primary Care’ programme.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Moving nearly a million people onto proactive care plans is one of biggest changes that we need to make in our NHS. People want to know that their parents and relatives will get constant care if they have a long-term condition.
“Many doctors already give great care but I want to make sure this is completely co-ordinated to head off problems and keep people from going to hospital unnecessarily.
“Extending GP opening hours and offering more services online will also make it far easier for millions of hardworking people and their families to fit seeing a GP around their busy lives.”