More Funding For Primary Care – What Can GPs Expect?
The new funding boost being given to primary care services will help ease the pressure faced by GPs, as opposed to introducing new services, as has been feared by many GPs. £4.5bn in extra funds will be allocated to primary care as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, which will see an overall funding boost of £20.5bn to the NHS. What can GPs expect from this increase in funding for primary care?
‘Too much pressure’ on GPs and Primary Care
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that there is ‘too much pressure on GPs and primary care’, and that extra funding will be used to specifically ease those pressures instead of introducing new services. By 2023/24, primary care will receive an additional £4.5bn to enable GPs to carry out their roles without many of the additional tasks that have become part of the profession.
What will the funding be used for?
The Health Secretary has said there are many things that other healthcare professionals can do that could help GPs become free to do the things that only they are trained for.
He explained that the extra funding will be used to make it easier for GPs to deliver health services to patients, allowing them to change ways of working without the existing pressure faced by doctors and practices.
What do GPs think about the funding for primary care services?
While the Health Secretary’s claims will be welcomed by many, there are concerns amongst GPs around the extra funding for primary care. They claim that past funding boosts have not had much of an impact on GP workloads as they had hoped. The many caveats that are attached to them mean that the funding doesn’t necessarily reach general practice, meaning a clearer distinction between primary care and general practice is needed when it comes to funding allocations.
Staffing issues, as well as an increased demand for health services has meant that around a quarter of GP partners have had to stop offering some clinical services, putting patients at a disadvantage. Many argue that a clearer understanding of ‘easing the pressure’ is needed, as one of the only realistic options to tackle this pressure is to put more GPs in practices.
There is an existing target set by the former Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to add 5,000 additional GPs, but there is no date as yet for when this will be met. While NHS England has said it is on course to meet a second target of 5,000 additional non-GP primary care staff, the GP target will not be met by 2020, despite being set in 2015.
With the growing pressure facing GPs, many are seeking part-time employment or leaving the profession altogether. However, GPs wishing to escape some of the demands of day to day GP life can consider out of hours working as a solution to the pressures faced in general practice. If you’re interested in finding out more about the benefits of out of hours working for GPs, you can watch our videos on what our out of hours doctors have to say. Alternatively, have a look at our recruitment pages for details of our latest vacancies.