Healthwatch England responds to government's GP access plan
The government will today announce its plans to improve access to GPs, including same-day appointments for those that need them.
Health Secretary Thérèse Coffey will unveil government's NHS plan for this winter to improve access to primary care. As part of the 'Plan for Patients', GPs will be able to take on extra staff, including senior nurses, while pharmacists will be asked to take on more work to free up appointments. The plan will also include:
same-day GP appointments when needed;
an up to two week-wait for a routine appointment - currently one in five appointments take longer
support for ambulances and A&E.
Louise Ansari, our national director said: “GP access is by far the most common frustration people have been raising with us for the last two years, and we know barriers at the front door of the NHS can create very serious problems further down the line. Bringing in more support staff and improving phonelines will provide much needed reinforcements for GP surgeries and help them make the process of getting an appointment more efficient and easier for everyone.
“As we head into the winter months the NHS is going to face pressures across the whole system, while managing the backlog in diagnostics and surgery that built up as a result of the pandemic. GP practices, as the vital first port of call for most people, need to be supported to make sure everyone who needs care is able to access it in a timely and appropriate way.”