Jeremy Hunt said the new voluntary seven-day contract announced by the prime minister on Sunday would support GPs to deliver evening and weekend care working with other local practices and staff.
GP leaders condemned the speech for failing to deliver the support general practice needs, warning that the health secretary was 'living in cloud cuckoo land' if he believed a seven-day GP service was possible with existing underfunding and the primary care workforce crisis.
Mr Hunt gave the example of a GP in Essex who every evening phones every patient the practice staff have concerns about to see how they are.
Personal GP care
Many more GPs would like to be like him, said Mr Hunt, ‘but find they simply can’t deliver that kind of personal care because of targets and tick boxes and rising appointment lists’.
The prime minister said on the weekend that the new contract will remove some bureaucracy associated with the QOF.
Mr Hunt said that personal, proactive care ‘should not be a relic of a bygone age’.
‘It’s how we’ll make the NHS sustainable by keeping people healthy and happy at home without needing expensive hospital treatment,' he added.
My Hunt told the conference he wanted the Conservatives to be the party of the NHS.
RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker said: 'Last week we called for a ‘real deal’ for general practice, that is: more resources; more GPs; less red tape; the latest technology and infrastructure; and time to innovate.
'From Mr Hunt’s speech – we are still waiting for this to be delivered. All I am hearing is that hard-working family doctors, who are delivering 370m patient consultations a year – 60m more than five years ago – will need to work even harder to meet growing demand, with decreasing resources.'
Photo: Pete Hill