The NHS Time for Care programme has seen GP practices free up precious time for patients across London in the last year.
The programme has seen surgeries across the capital adopt new ways of working, like letting patients book appointments sooner, reducing paperwork and offering faster access to different specialist health professionals.
Patients of Chiswick Health Practice in Hounslow now have more choice and easier access to appointments, which has made the practice more efficient and freed up 600 hours of GP time and over 1,200 hours of admin time.
Sarah Herdman, Practice Manager at Chiswick Health Practice: “Staff have become more passionate about improving the ways of working and are keen to put forward their own ideas. There is a real determination across the practice to deliver care for patients in the most efficient way. I am thrilled to see confidence and facilitation skills grow amongst the workforce.”
The programme, which will now be rolled out across the country after success in many pilot sites across London, has been extended for three years beyond its initial March 2019 end date. It aims to cover three quarters of GP practices across the country by 2022.
The decision comes after the programme posted its latest results which show practices around the country have freed up 205,157 clinical hours and 330,096 administration hours in the past year, all of which helps focus maximum effort and resource on quick and convenient patient care.
The saving of 205,00 clinical hours, across the country, is the equivalent of 1.23 million GP appointments of 10 minutes each. At an average of £30 an appointment, that represents close to £40million in time saved. If the same number of clinical hours saved are achieved over the next three years, it would represent around 3.7 million GP appointments – or around £110 million in terms of appointment time saved.
Dr Jonty Heaversedge, GP and Medical Director for Primary Care and Digital Transformation (London Region): “GP services are an integral part of our health service, and it makes sense to support practices across the capital to identify, create and build collaborative arrangements that can make it easier for patients to access their services. I am delighted that the programme will be able to thrive for another three years, helping practices across the capital to be more efficient with their time, empower their workforce and deliver for their patients.”
The renewed push to free up GPs to spend more time with patients comes on top of a new five-year contract for general practice across England, which will see billions of extra investment for improved access to family doctors, expanded services at local practices and longer appointments for patients who need them.
This will see 20,000 more staff – including clinical pharmacists, physiotherapists, community paramedics, associate physicians and social prescribing link workers – employed to help GP practices work together to provide a wider range of care for patients, closer to their homes.
The three-year extension is part of a £30m investment in a national programme for General Practice Development committed to in the GP Forward View.
More information on the Time For Care Programme and dozens of case studies showing its widespread achievements can be found on the following link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/gp/case-studies
For more detail on the Time For Care programme visit our ‘Releasing time for care’ web page.
For further information, contact the NHS England (London Region) media team on London.firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 3182 4984 and follow NHS England on Twitter @NHSEnglandLDN