David Cameron promises investment and training in new deal for GPs

The prime minister has promised more investment and training in a 'new deal' for GPs.

David Cameron: GP investment pledge (Photo: David Devin)
David Cameron: GP investment pledge (Photo: David Devin)

Speaking at the Vitality Partnership group of practices in Birmingham, which is providing evening and weekend access as part of the prime minister's Challenge Fund, Mr Cameron reiterated the government’s plans for a seven-day NHS.

Mr Cameron said the government would continue to back the NHS in England’s own plans, as set out in the Five Year Forward View, but he added that the service must ‘step up’ and deliver both quality and efficiencies.

The NHS needs joined up care built around what patients need, the prime minister said.

New deal for GPs

‘So it is a new deal for GPs with more investment, more training and a more personal link with patients,' he said.

The ‘big vision’, the prime minister added, was for ‘a modern NHS working for you seven days of the week - when you need it, where you need it’.

The vision, said Mr Cameron, was rethinking primary care: ‘Prevention, not just treatment. Tackling causes, not just symptoms. Treating the whole person, not just an individual ailment.

Broad GP service

‘For example, when an obese smoker visits his GP with a lung condition and a mental health issue he doesn’t get sent away with a pile of pills and end up weeks later in hospital. Instead he comes to a place like this that brings together the full suite of care services he needs.’

By the end of the year, said Mr Cameron, 18m patients will have evening and weekend GP access through the Challenge Fund. ‘By the end of this parliament I want that for everyone,’ he said. 

Earlier, health secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested that changes to the GP contract could be used to reduce burnout and attract more doctors into general practice. The government has promised 5,000 new GPs by 2020.

Speaking alongside the prime minister in Birmingham, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens called for a ‘new partnership between the public, the government, and the health service’ for his plans for the next five years to succeed. 

‘It’s going to mean concrete, comprehensive and occasionally controversial action,' he said, to prevent ill health, more personal and convenient care through redesign and integration, and putting the NHS’s finances on a sustainable footing.

Mr Stevens revealed that he would set out plans to meet NHS England's £22bn efficiencies challenge in two weeks' time.

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