Speaking at an NHS England board meeting on the day the wide-ranging £2.8bn deal was announced, GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey described its publication as a ‘watershed moment’ for general practice.
The five-year contract - which promises to ‘rebuild general practice’ - will deliver a state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs, funding for 'an army' of over 20,000 allied health professionals and non-medical staff to work alongside GPs, funding to allow practices to provide online and video consultations, online booking of some GP appointments and direct bookings by NHS111.
Dr Vautrey said that the contract, if implemented well, presented the opportunity to ‘actually make a real change that not only provides those 20,000 additional staff but also provides a different environment within general practice that gives confidence to young doctors to become GPs and for older doctors to stay as GPs’.
The deal says that by 2024 a typical network will have five clinical pharmacists (equivalent of one per practice), three social prescribers, three first contact physiotherapists, two physicians associates and one community paramedic.
Dr Vautrey also praised the commitment to state-backed indemnity, adding that it would finally put GPs on an even footing with hospital doctors.
‘This will move us to situation that has long been the case in secondary care where doctors are not penalised for choosing general practice as a career choice,’ he said. ‘Having to pay significantly inflated and rapidly increasing indemnity costs just to practice as a GP - that will be taken away by this change and it will make a fundamental difference both for younger doctors and older doctors as they choose to be general practitioners in the future.’
The state-backed indemnity scheme will begin in April 2019 and cover all practice staff and those working in out-of-hours for clinical negligence claims.
Also speaking at the board meeting, GP and NHS England acting director of primary care Dr Nikki Kanani said: ‘This is the moment where we can see things are going to be different. We’re going to look after you, we’re going to value you, we’re going to respect you and we’re going to let primary care absolutely take the role that it should do within the wider system to make the whole system work.’