DAUK hopeful general practice is a government priority as Wes Streeting pledges to ‘fix NHS front door’

The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) says extra money for general practice promised by the new health secretary needs to go to funding GPs and practice nurses to improve access for patients.

Dr Steve Taylor, DAUK’s GP spokesperson, welcomed Wes Streeting’s comments that he intended to ‘fix the front door to the NHS’ with billions of pounds of investment.

But he added a note of caution as he said the details of the announcement would be ‘extremely important’.

It was Mr Streeting’s first major policy announcement as health secretary as he attended a GP surgery in North London on his first NHS visit since being appointed to the role.

It comes just a day after our GP Committee wrote to Mr Streeting warning him that ‘funding and not wholesale reform’ was needed to address the crisis in general practice.

Dr Taylor said: “It’s extremely hopeful that general practice is being recognised at the top of government after years of neglect.

“We are happy to see Wes Streeting state the need for extra funding so clearly, while we also recognise that the details are important.

General practice funding

“Any extra funding needs to go to core general practice for funding GPs and practice nurses.”

DAUK set out our vision to relieve pressure on general practice in our election manifesto, with a call to invest £3 per month per head of population to return to real terms funding last seen in 2015.

Currently GPs have 1.3m daily patient contacts, the largest of any part of the NHS, including hospital outpatient appointments (250,000), and A&E contacts (67,000), and yet receive just 5.6 per cent of the NHS budget.

Dr Taylor added: “NHS England has spent a lot of money and resources on anything other than GP practices, so the details will be extremely important if patients are going to get better access to GPs.”

Mr Streeting was joined by NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard on his visit to Abbey Medical Centre in St John’s Wood, London, where they met with and listened to staff.

After his visit, Mr Streeting said: “Patients are finding it harder than ever to see a GP. Patients can’t get through the front door of the NHS, so they aren’t getting the timely care they need.

“That’s no surprise, when GPs and primary care have been receiving a smaller proportion of NHS resources. I’m committed to reversing that.

Neighbourhood health service

“My first visit as health secretary was to a GP practice because when we said we want to shift the focus of the NHS out of hospitals and into the community, we meant it.

“I’m determined to make the NHS more of a neighbourhood health service, with more care available closer to people’s homes.

Because if patients can’t get a GP appointment, then they end up in A&E, which is worse for them, and more expensive for the taxpayer.

“We are committed to bringing back the family doctor, so patients can see the same doctor each appointment, fixing the front door to the NHS.”

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