In a bid to change the healthcare sector, the National Health Service (NHS) announced a multi-billion plan – General Practice Forward View – to help general practice get back on its feet, enhance patient care, and invest in better technology for primary care.

The General Practice Forward View, developed in a close coordination with Health Education England and Royal College of General Practitioner has allocated £2.4 billion a year for general practice services till 2020-21.

This is huge.

An allocation this big will transpire into a spending of over £12 billion by 2021. This is 14% more than the spending in 2016/2017 which was £9.6 billion. An additional £500 million national turnaround package and funds from local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will supplement the investment.

As per a recent international survey, the British GPs are under a tremendous pressure what with the increasing workload and growing patient concerns. Instead of ignoring these pressures, the NHS has not only acknowledged the practice burdens but has also come up with a substantial, real-time plan.

“Now we need to act, and this plan sets out exactly how,” says Simon Stevens, the representative of the NHS.

In an attempt to help the GPs get back on their feet, the NHS provides a tremendous boost to the private practice. The new proposal, it seems, is like the steroid injection, with the only difference being that unlike steroids the effects of which are magnificent but transient, the General Practice Forward View is here to provide a long-term sustainability to the primary care.

All About General Practice Forward View

The General Practice Forward View is all about breathing a new life into the primary care. The primary care is central to any country’s health system. The relevance is more in the UK since GPs form the largest branch of the British medicine. The new proposal is, therefore, nothing short of a breath of fresh air for the primary care sector of the country.

The plan contains specific and practical steps to support and expand the GPs and the primary care. When implemented, the plan will reduce the practice burden and help the primary care get back on its feet. The new plan also promises to invest in better technology for the health sector as well as to develop primary care estate in the country.

Once implemented fully, the patients will get better, improved and modern health services at these sectors.

Let us now look at the new plan in detail and what sectors it affects.

  1. Workforce – The plan will bring new incentives for the workforce which include:
  • Doubling the growth rate in GPs
  • Recruitment, training and retention of workforce

With the new proposal, the NHS plans on recruiting an additional 5,000 GPs, 3,000 mental health therapists, and 1,500 clinical pharmacists in the next five years.

Not only this, there will be nationally funded support for the existing clinical workforce that includes physician assistants, nurses, managers and the receptionists. The new Practice Resilience Programme will provide support to the struggling practices in terms of workload, practice burdens and financial burnouts.

  1. Infrastructure – The proposal will revolutionize the premises and infrastructure. It will also provide modern tools and appointment and consultation management systems to streamline the practice. It allows up to 100% reimbursements for premises developments. The private practices will also be provided with better record sharing to support teamwork.
  1. Care – The new plan opts a practical approach and support to care for individual practices, federations and super-partnerships. This involves:
  • Direct funding for better in- and out-of-hours access and will encompass clinical hubs
  • Voluntary GP contract – to support integrated primary and community health services

Simon Stevens, the representative from the NHS, said: “GPs are by far the largest branch of British medicine, and as a recent British Medical Journal headline put it – if general practice fails, the whole NHS fails.”

Arvind Madan, NHS England Director of Primary Care and a Tower Hamlets GP, acknowledges the tremendous pressures the GPs are facing right now, and acknowledges the immediate need to get on track.

The new proposal will greatly benefit the practices that are struggling to meet patient’s needs, by reducing workload, providing opportunities to recruit staff as well as providing a chance to improve technology and its use at the premises.

Simon Stevens is hopeful that the new proposal will revolutionize the primary care as well as the national healthcare system. “We know this is just the start of the journey but we are determined to get this right for the benefit of patients, GPs and the wider healthcare system.”