NHS England laid out a five-year plan to put general practice “back on its feet”, with an extra £2.4 billion a year in funding by the end of the decade.
The funding comes from existing budgets and is likely to mean cut backs in other areas of the NHS. However health leaders hope it will lead to a reduction in demand for hospital services saving the NHS money in the long term.
The boost comes after mounting pressure from GP leaders over increasing workloads and underfunding, as well as a shortage of trainee doctors willing to go into general practice. The plan has been endorsed by doctors’ leaders who said it represented “a significant and comprehensive package of proposals to support general practice both in the immediate and longer term”.
Under the plan announced by NHS England boss, Simon Stevens, GP surgeries will work together to manage patient demand, increase their opening hours on week nights and weekends and encourage patients to see professionals other than GPs.
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