The Government wants everyone to be able to access a primary care professional when they need to. The actions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, backed by the extra £4.5 billion of investment in primary and community care by 2023/24, and the five year contract framework for general practice, are already being implemented and will build the general practice workforce and improve access to primary care services.
Evening and weekend general practice appointments are routinely available across the country now to enable patients to find appointments at a time convenient to them, with millions of patients having already benefitted from this.
The Government has committed to growing the workforce by 6,000 more doctors in general practice and 6,000 more primary care professionals, such as physiotherapists and pharmacists by 2024/25. This is on top of the additional 20,000 primary care professionals NHS England are providing funding towards by 2023/24 in Primary Care Networks. Growing the workforce will mean bigger teams of staff providing a wider range of care options for patients and will free up more time for doctors to focus on those with more complex needs. This, alongside additional support and increasing the use of technology in general practice will create an extra 50 million appointments a year by 2024/25 and improve patient access to primary care services.
NHS Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group has advised it commissions a physiotherapy service and a minor eye conditions service that can be directly accessed by patients without seeing their general practitioner. Use of these services mean appointments in general practice are freed up for others.