A five-year contract for general practice across England is seeing billions of extra investment for improved access to family doctors, expanded services at local practices and longer appointments for patients who need them.

NHS England is funding an army of 20,000 more staff to help GP practices work together as part of a local primary care network. This will help to free up GPs to spend more time with patients who need them, most as well ensuring patients have access to a wide range of services at their local practice.

Patient access will also continue to improve, including the introduction of digital appointments, backed by a new patient right to web and video consultations by 2021.

Among the many other measures in the Contract are:

  • Establishing primary care networks across the whole country, backed by £1.8 billion of funding by 2023.
  • A new £300 million Fund by 2023 will include networks making faster progress in achieving the outcomes described in the NHS Long Term Plan. This will mean that general practice will benefit from the impact their work has in reducing avoidable A&E attendances, admissions and delayed discharge, and from reducing avoidable outpatient visits and improvements in prescribing through medication reviews.
  • Clinically-proven improvements in the management of diabetes, blood pressure control and cervical screening, through reforms to the GP quality and outcomes framework, with further changes in the pipeline on heart failure, asthma, COPD, and mental health.
  • New support for quality improvement, starting with prescribing safety and end-of-life care.
  • Additional funding of IT which will allows both patients and practices to benefit from the latest digital technologies. All patients will have the right to digital-first primary care, including web and video consultations in 2021. They will also be able to order repeat prescriptions electronically from and have digital access to their full records from this year.
  • Direct booking of calls from NHS 111 into GP surgeries.
  • Protecting the principle that general practice remains free on the NHS, through a new ban on advertising or hosting private GP services.
  • Ensuring public confidence to invest in the GP partnership model, through increased transparency of NHS earnings, and a new mechanism to protect against unexpectedly high or low earnings.
  • Solving the indemnity funding crisis, through a new NHS Resolution Clinical Negligence Scheme for general practice. All general practice will be covered, including out of hours and all staff groups as well as new recruits. It means they won’t pay indemnity cover and they will be protected from future inflated indemnity costs.
  • The Government’s investment in General Practice Services is set out in the latest publication of the Investment in General Practice in England, 2016/17 to 2020/21. The Report is accompanied by a Data quality statement.