General Practitioners

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 30 January 2023.

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Photo of Tom Randall Tom Randall Conservative, Gedling

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the progress made in carrying out the October 2021 Plan for Improving Access to GP appointments.

Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The plan announced by the Government and NHS England in October 2021 set out a package of measures to support general practice (GP) over the winter period and in the longer term. This included making £250 million available for a Winter Access Fund to increase capacity, a short term telephony solution for GP practices, expanding the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service and NHS England’s Access Improvement Programme and a £5 million fund to facilitate essential upgrades to practice security measures.

Examples of how the Winter Access Fund was used include the creation of additional hubs and helplines, expanding home visiting capacity, funding additional sessions from staff.

NHS England’s short term telephony solution is already helping practices to free up lines for incoming calls and from this month, January 2023, NHS England is accelerating work to support all GP practices to procure cloud-based telephony systems.

In the 12 months up to December 2022, there were on average 1.32 million GP appointments per working day, excluding COVID-19 vaccinations. Compared to the 12 months up to December 2021, which was 1.23 million, this is an increase of 7%.

We recognise that some people are still struggling to access general practice services in a timely way. We will soon be publishing our Recovery Plan for primary care.

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