Commissioning intentions - primary care

Primary care is generally the first point of contact for the healthcare system, acting as the ‘front door’ for the NHS. Primary care includes general practice, community pharmacy, dental and optometry (eye health) services.

A sample of what people told us

"Ensure that GP has appropriate information and links to refer people on to support. e.g. Mental Health support / weight management" "Better access outside of the 9-5 hours Mon-Fri is definitely needed urgently"
"Better IT so that referrals to other services can be dealt with quickly instead of relying on the post" "More communication to the public about when to seek which service(GP / Pharmacy / A&E)"
"Our GP offers telephone appointments. Excellent!" "Better integrated working and communication with other health professionals and voluntary sector organisations"
"Need to improve self-help and self-management as a step before GP access. This would reduce pressure on surgeries" "We need to ensure that we are not fragmenting patient care too much"
"Anecdotally appointments seem to be one of the priorities, so anything you can do to educate the general public away from always wanting to see a GP would be ideal, Advanced Nurse Practitioners" "Generally it is very good. The GPs locally seem to offer an excellent service in difficult circumstances. They need more support to deliver more services nincluding more doctors and more money"

What we know

  • Patients want access to flexible services and same day appointments when it’s urgent
  • We spoke to over 600 members of the public and found the majority of people find it difficult to book an appointment and 76% would consider booking an appointment online

What we are trying to achieve

Increase opportunities for and encourage practices to work together to deliver improved services, improve access to general practice services and ensure general practice is strong enough and supported enough to continue providing services long into the future.

Our priorities

  • Improve access to primary care to meet the needs of patients, including population growth and new housing developments and making use of new technology such as online consultations and two-way text messaging
  • Actively encourage every practice to be part of a local primary care network and work together more collaboratively, expand and support their workforce and offer appointments with other health professionals, such as clinical pharmacists
  • Supporting practices with their workload, using the national GP Five Year Forward View and High Impact Actions, sharing best practices to enable practices to deliver

What we have done so far

Latest news 

Following an extensive survey on how people accessed primary care services we have improved our extended access to primary care, offering appointments in the evening and weekends for people. You can find out more about GP Extended Access here.

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