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 regional and focussed engagement events have taken place across the country, enabling general practice teams, commissioners, providers, STPs/ICSs, NHS England regional and local teams and other NHS organisations to have discussions on topics including digital services and technologies, patient and public engagement and urgent care and integration.  A further focussed event looking at workforce and workload is due to take place in November.

  • Focus on workforce and workload – Monday 11 November 2019 (10.00am – 4.00pm) Twickenham Stadium, Rugby House, Twickenham Stadium, 200 Whitton Road, London, TW2 7BA.

If you wish to register your interest in attending the above event, 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

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

Alongside the regional and subject specific events, NHS England will be continuing their engagement with a wide range of stakeholders to seek their views on current access arrangements and potential future delivery via a series of webinars. Dates and links for the webinars are as below. There is no need to register in advance for these.