Seven-day service for London within five years, says former RCGP chair Gerada

All London practices could be expected to provide a seven-day service within five years, NHS England's Professor Clare Gerada has suggested, with provider organisations serving a million patients.

Professor Clare Gerada: seven-day service plans (Photo: Alex Deverill)
Professor Clare Gerada: seven-day service plans (Photo: Alex Deverill)

The clinical chairwoman for primary care transformation in London revealed a set of standards being drawn up to describe the service practices should offer and patients can expect access to could include week-round access.

Speaking at a pharmaceutical industry conference the former RCGP chairwoman said the standards would not dictate care models, but would force GPs to work differently.

‘If we are delivering a set of standards that include seven-day a week access to general practice, and many others, it will force GPs to work differently,' she said.

Professor Gerada told the conference that in five years’ time ‘there won't be such a thing as a single practice entity'. She added: 'Practices will be working much more in networks, much more in federations.’

Provider organisations, she said, could serve as many as 1m patients.

‘We are going to see over the five years, a significant transformation in the way we work. I think we will see...in order to deliver the standards, practices will have to work in natural populations of 50-100,000. But within that, organisations that are maybe up to a million, where you start to deliver, as provider organisations, services at scale.’

NHS England London has been working to create the GP standards which will describe the service offer that all patients should have access to, focused on accessible, proactive and co-ordinated care. Practices will have to work towards the standards over five years leading to a quality benchmark.

Deputy medical director of NHS England London, Dr Mark Spencer, said in February the standards programme could be funded with money taken out of PMS contracts. 

The standards were due to be published for public consultation in the spring.

An NHS England London spokeswoman said the documents were in the process of being developed.

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