NHS 'guarantees' 48-hour access to a GP

This year's NHS Operating Framework looks set to increase public expectations of access to GP services.

NHS chief executive David Nicholson has stated improved access in the 2010 Operating Framework

The 2010 Operating Framework 'guarantees' access to a practice nurse within 24 hours or a GP within 48 hours and in the evening or at the weekend.

Trusts are encouraged to commission additional services from practices refusing to do extended hours.

The NHS Alliance welcomed changes to hospital tariffs, which mean payments are withheld if patient satisfaction targets are not met and urgent care activity rises.

It is hoped this will encourage hospitals to work with PCTs and practice-based commissioners to move services out of hospitals.

The King's Fund said the framework signalled a period of greater cooperation between hospitals, community services and primary care.

PCTs will receive a 5.5% increase in their allocations but NHS chief executive David Nicholson warned that it would be the last year of significant growth. From 2012, the NHS's budget will rise with inflation.

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