GP workforce incentives to be unveiled as part of DH policy package

A new national GP workforce initiative will be announced as part of a package of measures for general practice to be unveiled by the government and NHS England within weeks.

Jeremy Hunt: determined to address pressure on GPs (Photo: JH Lancy)
Jeremy Hunt: determined to address pressure on GPs (Photo: JH Lancy)

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has confirmed he will outline details of how new investment allocated to the service will be spent and measures to reduce bureaucracy including streamlining CQC inspections.

NHS England has announced plans to increase GP funding by 4-5% a year for the next five years.

GPonline revealed plans for the primary care policy package earlier this month.

GP workforce pressure

Mr Hunt said general practice was the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the NHS and he was ‘determined’ to address ‘growing pressures on GPs and do even more to support the profession’.

‘So in February, we’ll be announcing a new package of measures consulting with the Royal College of GPs and the GPC on this,' he said.

‘We’ll continue to reduce the burden of bureaucracy in general practice, and the CQC will be looking at what more they can do to streamline their inspections. On top of this, I want to increase the proportion of funding going into general practice, so with NHS England we are now promising to invest 4-5% more per year in general practice for the rest of this parliament on top of the extra funding CCGs will put into primary care.’

The comments come just days after the BMA confirmed GP leaders will debate proposals for a mass resignation from the NHS at a special conference of LMCs next week.

Under proposals that will be debated by GP leaders, the GPC would ask GPs to submit undated contract resignations that could be handed in if efforts to secure a rescue package for general practice prove unsuccessful.

Primary care funding

The package being announced in February by the DH and NHS England will include details of further investment on top of the £1bn infrastructure and transformation fund announced in 2014.

Measures to increase the workforce, including incentives to help keep GPs in the profession and to address areas with workforce shortages, will also be revealed.

The package will also include measures to cut bureaucracy first announced by Mr Hunt last October, including scrapping GPs' responsibility for hospital re-referrals following missed appointments, and the creation of a unified, single stream GP payments system.

The announcement is also expeceted to reveal the further roll out of seven-day services to meet ministers' demands that a fifth of the population have evening and weekend access by 2017.

Photo: Pete Hill

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