National review of access to general practice services in England

Investment and evolution: A five-year framework for GP contract reform to implement The NHS Long Term Plan set out that NHS England, working with stakeholders, will undertake a review to evolve and implement a coherent access offer for both physical and digital services.  This will deliver convenient appointments ‘in hours’, reduced duplication and better integration between settings such as NHS111, urgent treatment centres and general practice. The review will commence in 2019, for full implementation by 2021/22.

The review will have one main objective which is to improve patient access both in hours and at evenings and weekends and reduce unwarranted variation in experience. A key output will be the development of a coherent access to general practice appointments offer that practices (in hours) and primary care networks (outside core general practice hours) will make and could sustain, for both physical and digital services, to 100% of patients.

This will include:

  • improving access to patient requested pre-bookable and same day general practice appointments with a view to reducing variations in waiting times;
  • reducing fragmentation by developing a comprehensive access offer for out of hospital care including when practices are closed or unavailable and to improve urgent care services in the community;
  • looking at workforce and workload to make the best use of the available people and resources to improve the wellbeing of the workforce, reduce workload pressures and improve services for patients, and;
  • ensuring the review’s main objective can be met.

The review will be supported by a National Advisory Group involving key stakeholders including the BMA General Practice Committee and the Royal College of General Practitioners. It will be chaired by Dr Nikki Kanani, Primary Care Medical Director at NHS England.

As part of the review, NHS England will consult with a wide range of stakeholders to seek their views on current access arrangements and potential future delivery. A series of engagement events have been arranged to enable a range of focused discussions to take place, as follows:

  • Focus on digital services and technologies – Tuesday 6 August 2019 (10.00am – 4.00pm), Chelsea Football Club, Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, London, SW6 1HS.
  • Focused event for patients and the public – Tuesday 20 August 2019 (10.00am – 4.00pm) Ambassadors Bloomsbury Hotel, 12 Upper Woburn Place, Bloomsbury, London, WC1H 0HX.
  • Focus on urgent care and integration – Thursday 29 August 2019 (10.00am – 4.00pm) De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, 61 – 65 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5DA.
  • Focus on workforce and workload – Wednesday 25 September 2019 (10.00am – 4.00pm) Twickenham Stadium, Rugby House, Twickenham Stadium, 200 Whitton Road, London, TW2 7BA.

In addition, regional engagement events for general practice teams, commissioners, providers, STPs/ICSs, NHS England regional and local teams and other NHS organisations will take place on the following dates:

  • North region: Tuesday 10 September 2019 (10.00am – 4.00pm), Headingley Experience, Emerald Headingley Stadium, St Michaels Lane, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3BR.
  • Midlands and East of England regions: Wednesday 11 September 2019 (10.00am – 4.00pm), Holiday Inn Peterborough West, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SG.
  • London and South East regions: Wednesday 18 September 2019 (10.00am – 4.00pm), etc.venues Fenchurch Street, 8 Fenchurch Place, London, EC3M 4PB.
  • South West region: Thursday 19 September 2019 (10.00am – 4.00pm), Mercure Bristol Holland House Hotel, Redcliffe Hill, Bristol, BS1 6SQ.

If you wish to register your interest in attending any of the above events, suggest NHS England visits your team to learn more about access to general practice in your local area or provide any other feedback relating to the review, please email england.accessreview@nhs.net.

You can also follow the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #accessreview.