It is the responsibility of local commissioners, overseen by NHS England, to ensure that general practitioner (GP) services meet the needs of local people.
In line with its strategic vision, Mapping the Future, that was approved by West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in July 2017 a Local Care Plan that describes the model of GP care, the infrastructure required and what will change for local people was published.
In this local care model, the system is organised at four different levels – general practice, cluster, local care hubs and west Kent-wide services. There are seven ‘clusters’ of general practices in West Kent. The cluster model is being implemented in three phases across the seven clusters. The Sevenoaks cluster lead GP, Dr Vicky O’Neill, is leading the development of a bid on behalf of local practices to secure GP Five-Year Forward View funding to help ensure that local GP care is sustainable.
Several practices in Sevenoaks are finalising practice premises development plans to allow them to expand their services. The Sevenoaks cluster is also working to prepare for delivering the enhanced access requirements for general practice and West Kent CCG expects the cluster to be compliant by the target date of March 2019.
In April 2016, the General Practice Forward View set out a package of investment in English general practice. This included a number of reforms which will support general practice through increased investment in general practice, recruitment and retention of GPs and the wider workforce, and investment in extended access to GP services.
By 2020 the Government has committed to supporting general practice by incrementally increasing investment up to £12 billion (an additional £2.4 billion compared to 2015/16); an additional 5,000 GPs and 5,000 other staff working in general practice; and by March 2019 everyone having access to GP services, including sufficient routine appointments at evenings and weekends to meet locally determined demand.