Primary Health Care

Department of Health written question – answered at on 21 September 2015.

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Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler Conservative, South Derbyshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to increase capacity in (a) general practice and (b) primary care.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Government is committed to increasing the primary and community care workforce by at least 10,000 by 2020, including an estimated 5,000 extra doctors working in general practice and a further 5,000 other primary care. To release capacity in general practice we are also are working with NHS England to consider ways that we can reduce bureaucracy and re-shape patient demand.

In order to improve general practitioner (GP) access, £175 million (including £25 million from the Infrastructure Fund) has been invested in the Prime Minister’s GP Access Fund to test improved access to GP services. We have also committed £1 billion to a four year Primary Care Infrastructure Fund, to accelerate improvements in GP premises and infrastructure. Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has benefitted from both of these initiatives, having piloted new models of access (e.g. video consultations) through the Access Fund, and also three local GP premises have had their developments approved as part of the 2015/16 Infrastructure Fund.

We are also committed to promoting innovative models of primary care and wider out-of-hospital services, as well as making better use of pharmacists, which will improve capacity by breaking down barriers between care providers. For example community pharmacists can provide support to GPs is by providing seasonal flu vaccinations – a new advanced service under the community pharmacy contractual framework has recently been introduced. Southern Derbyshire CCG is also exploring the potential to pilot clinical pharmacists in general practice to reduce workload pressures on GPs. Furthermore, Dental practices in Derby City have been allocated £600,000 by NHS England to provide access for over 8,000 additional patients per annum.

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