March is #primarycare month – Dr Anne Rainsberry

#primarycare month is an NHS England (London) campaign to promote and publicise the many exceptional things going on in primary care across the capital.

Primary care is an absolute priority for the NHS, and especially for London. Working with the Healthy London Partnership, strategic clinical networks and other key groups throughout March, we aim to shed some light on the people and services that make up primary care in a modern NHS. This includes visiting GP practices, meeting with MPs to discuss local issues and highlighting areas of transformation that will improve the standard of care Londoners receive. Here, NHS England’s Regional Director for London explains why the campaign is so important:

When people are unwell or have a health concern, they will often turn initially to their GP, practice nurse, dentist or local pharmacist for help.

Whether the result is allayed fears, treatment, further tests or health advice, this is a crucial moment in any patient’s relationship with the NHS.

All these health professionals work within primary care, and across the capital there are many dedicated hard working people who, every day, are making a huge difference to Londoners.

We want to shine a light on some of the high quality, innovative work they are doing, share some of our plans to transform primary care and show some of the ways we are working towards improving the standard of care that Londoners receive, through the Healthy London Partnership.

So, over the next four weeks, we will be sharing examples of excellent primary care which are already happening within London as well as our future plans.

We know that in the capital there are significant challenges for primary care, and this month also provides us with the platform to talk about these and how we are working to overcome them. We also want to hear directly from primary care professionals and patients about their experiences.

London is a global city – something which presents opportunities and challenges in equal measure. We have a large, mobile population and we have 1,501 GP practices and 8,086 GPs.

We know that we face GP workforce issues in London – the findings of a recent survey warning that many in the capital are planning to shut because of shortages of doctors, bureaucracy and workload. This is concerning for us but we also want to reassure GPs that we are putting plans in place to address this.

Nationally, work is ongoing to have 5,000 additional GPs and 5,000 other primary care staff by 2020. The GP 10-point workforce plan is intended to kick start initiatives and funding to improve recruitment and retention within the GP workforce.

We have embarked on an ambitious strategy to transform primary care over the next three years as London has seen an increase in funding for primary care services. London has also been allocated £1.52million of national funds to support the development of vulnerable GP practices.

It’s important to note that primary care does not just cover GPs – dentists, pharmacists and certain types of specialist nurses all make up primary care. In the coming month, we’re going to be concentrating on a different theme each week, ranging from GPs to pharmacies to practice managers.

We’re also going to look at how the NHS is bringing primary care into the new digital age. Booking appointments, accessing records and sourcing treatment more conveniently can all be greatly improved by advances in technology. We will be sharing where this is happening best in London.

From today and throughout March, we’ll be using our web pages and our social media channels, including twitter, to promote our activity – we’ll be sharing blogs and videos from people across the NHS so please do keep an eye out and get involved!

If you want to share a story that you have about primary care in London, please get in touch via

Photo of Anne RainsberryDr Anne Rainsberry is the NHS England, Regional Director for London.
She leads the region in its work to improve health across the capital, ensuring high quality care for every Londoner and working to make London the healthiest global city in the world.

She oversees £16bn health spend across the capital.

Anne joined NHS England from NHS London where she was Deputy Chief Executive and an executive member of the Board for 6 years. She has worked in the NHS for 30 years. During this time she has undertaken senior leadership roles at local, regional and national levels.

Anne has operated at Board level since 1995. She joined the Department of Health in 2001 as Director of Development for the South East Regional Office and then moving to lead this agenda across the South of England.

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  1. Diazepine says:

    Another pointless job, another pointless quango, another oxygen thief.

  2. Would says:

    actually miss any of these pointless people?

  3. Varsha says:

    GP Practices in the Outer London are struggling with more people registering and the premises are now in need of investment. GPs are drowning with paper work and demand for more appointments, they have little time to make forward plans. As PPG Chair, we are acutely aware of the workforce challenges Practices face.

    What is needed is a planning exercise, just like school places are planned. We need to have some projections of people moving into an area and really look hard at the capacity within Primary Care Network and GP Practices really working in collaboration. NHS England and Healthy London Partnership needs to provide Leadership and an agreed framework with London LMC.