We are currently considering all options to increase the range of healthcare professionals permitted to administer low-risk medicines. This is all part of making sure that our NHS workforce is as flexible as possible, and we will do that in the light of what can be done, while of course keeping a highlight on patient safety.
My constituent Jessica Warr works as an operating department practitioner in Leighton Hospital. She and her colleagues make a huge contribution to patient care. Would the Secretary of State agree to meet Jessica and other ODPs to hear their case for why allowing them to prescribe would allow them to enhance the care they provide for patients even further?
Yes, of course, I would be very happy to meet my hon. Friend and those he represents to make sure that we can get the right balance—the maximum possible flexibility, subject of course to patient safety.
Yes, the 26,000 extra staff, as well as the extra GPs in primary care, are going to improve the position, but we also taking steps to improve access by making sure that people can access primary care in the best possible way. I can be clear to the House today that we will take a digital first approach to accessing primary care and out-patient appointments, so that, wherever clinically and practically possible, people can access—and should access—primary care through phones and digital means. This is especially important in the current coronavirus outbreak. Already, a roll-out has started, but we will make this across the country with immediate effect.
We have been waiting for a year for the Greenwich clinical commissioning group to reopen a nurse-led practitioner drop-in centre on the Horn Park estate. This was a place where people from that local community could pop in and get minor treatments, but also vaccinations, and it could prescribe low-risk drugs. May I commend this service to the Secretary of State? Could he assist me in urging Greenwich CCG to reopen it as quickly as possible, but also look at it as a possible model for other areas?