For the first time in a decade, every patient in England will get a named, accountable GP, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.
Under changes to their contract with the NHS, GPs will ensure all 53.9 million people in England will get a dedicated GP personally accountable for coordinating care tailored to their physical and mental health needs. Last year it was initially introduced for all 4 million people aged 75 and over.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
GPs are the bedrock of the NHS and by bringing back a named accountable GP for everyone we will strengthen the relationship between GPs and their patients.
I understand the pressures that general practice is facing with an ageing population, but we want to make sure that all patients get personalised care tailored to their physical and mental health needs, supporting people to live healthier lives.
Additionally, GPs have agreed to greater transparency on pay, with GP practices obliged to publish their average earnings by 31 March 2016.
Other key changes mean that patients will have online access to more detailed information from their patient records and a larger proportion of appointments will be available to book online. GPs will also be supported to offer patients more email consultations.
The new GMS contract for 2015/16 was agreed between the British Medical Association’s General Practice Committee, NHS England and the Department of Health.
This comes alongside a boost to general practice today, as the Prime Minister announced that millions more people will benefit from improved access to their GP.
The government is extending the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund, which provides more flexible GP appointments, including extended opening hours from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, as well as email, phone and Skype consultations. Helping families fit GP appointments into their busy lives, the extension will cover millions more people, supplementing the 7.5 million patients benefiting from wave one of the scheme.
Following the launch of the £50m GP Access Fund pilots, more than 1,100 practices are already taking part. Building on this success, the new second wave of access pilots will be backed by a further £100 million, with priority given to places where patients find it harder to get a GP appointment because of long standing difficulties to recruit doctors.
Innovative practices will be able to bid for a share of the fund by demonstrating new initiatives to improve patient access, in and out of normal working hours.