Improving general practice – a call to action

NHS England is seeking your views to help shape the future of general practice services in England.

Through our recent engagement with general practice, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and other partners, we have heard that general practice and wider primary care services face increasingly unsustainable pressures and that general practice wants and needs to transform the way it provides services to reflect these growing challenges. These include:

  • an ageing population, growing co-morbidities and increasing patient expectations, resulting in large increase in consultations, especially for older patients, e.g. 95% growth in consultation rate for people aged 85-89 in ten years up to 2008/09. The number of people with multiple long term conditions set to grow from 1.9 to 2.9 million from 2008 to 2018;
  • increasing pressure on NHS financial resources, which will intensify further from 2015/16;
  • growing dissatisfaction with access to services. The most recent GP Patient Survey shows further reductions in satisfaction with access, both for in-hours and out-of-hours services. 76% of patients rate overall experience of making an appointment as good;
  • persistent inequalities in access and quality of primary care, including twofold variation in GPs and nurses per head of population between more and less deprived areas;
  • growing reports of workforce pressures including recruitment and retention problems.

Our aim is to enable general practice to play an even stronger role at the heart of more integrated out-of-hospital services that deliver better health outcomes, more personalised care, excellent patient experience and the most efficient possible use of NHS resources.  This forms part of the wider ‘The NHS belongs to the people: a call to action’ that NHS England launched on 11 July 2013.

The main purpose of ‘Improving general practice – a call to action’ is to stimulate debate in local communities – amongst GP practices, area teams, CCGs, health and wellbeing boards and other community partners – as to how best to develop general practice services.  A number of area teams and CCGs are already working collaboratively to develop shared strategies for primary and integrated care, and the questions in this ‘call to action’ are designed both to support these existing examples of local action and to stimulate similar approaches in all other parts of the country.

We also ask a number of questions about how NHS England can best support these local changes, for instance through the way that we develop national contractual frameworks.

Please let us know how you feel and what you think by getting in touch with your area team.

Gateway ref: 00330

You can also complete our survey. Before completing this, please read through the:

  • Slide pack – which describes the case for change and our underlying objectives for general practice
  • Evidence pack  – which provides some information about current general practice and health needs 

We are developing similar frameworks to stimulate debate about our strategic approach to the commissioning of primary dental services, pharmacy services and eye care services.

To request these documents in alternative accessible formats please email quoting your name, address and telephone
number, along with the title of the publication.

Have your say – influence this review

The survey has now closed. Thank you for taking the time to complete, we are currently in the process of reviewing your comments and these will for part of the strategic framework for commissioning primary care.

Why is your view important?

Your views will help us improve services and decide how general practice services should be designed and set up in future.

We will use your comments to develop a national strategic framework. CCGs and area teams will use this framework to organise local primary services taking into account local issues and patient needs.

We propose to publish a further document in the autumn setting out in more detail the proposed key features of our Strategic Framework for Commissioning of General Practice Services and to capture the key elements of the work that area teams, CCGs and other partners are carrying out locally.