• Building on the NHS Winter Plan, Health and Social Care Secretary and Deputy First Minister Therese Coffey will outline measures in the priorities that matter most to patients – ambulances, backlogs, care and doctors and dentists
  • A package of measures will improve access to general practice so that all patients who need an appointment can get one within two weeks, with plans to free up more than a million appointments per year
  • Alongside the government’s plan, the public will be called upon to do their part as part of a ‘national effort’ to support the NHS and social services

A renewed drive to improve access to GP appointments will be the centerpiece of a new plan for patients to be unveiled tomorrow by the Health and Social Care Secretary and the Deputy Prime Minister [Thursday 22 September].

As a first step in her efforts to put the NHS and social care on a resilient footing, Thérèse Coffey will outline her expectation that anyone in need will get an appointment with a GP within two weeks – and that patients most urgent needs should be seen in the same day.

The plan will include changing funding rules to bring in additional support staff so hard-working GPs can focus on treating patients – freeing up more than a million appointments a year, as well as more phone systems state-of-the-art to facilitate patient access. to their medical offices.

There will also be more information available for patients, with appointment data released at the practice level for the very first time.

Pharmacies will help ease pressures on GPs and free up time for appointments by managing and providing more medicines such as contraception without a prescription from the GP, which could free up to two million appointments general medicine a year, and taking emergency care referrals for minor illnesses or symptoms, such as a cough, headache or sore throat.

As part of our plan for patients, Dr Coffey will also call on the public to join in a ‘national effort’ to support the health and social care system, calling on the one million volunteers who have stepped up during the pandemic to support the NHS come forward again. This will include a push for more volunteering in the NHS and social services.

Health and Social Affairs Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister Thérèse Coffey is expected to say:

I will focus like a laser on the needs of patients, making their priorities my priorities and being a champion for them on the issues that affect them the most.

Our patient plan will make it easier to get a GP appointment and we will work hard to make this happen, while supporting our hard-working GP teams.

We know this winter will be tough and this is just the first step in our work to strengthen our valuable NHS and social care services so people can get the care they need.

From November, the NHS will accelerate the roll-out of new cloud-based phone systems to make it easier for patients to get into their doctor’s office, with more phone lines to take patient calls and provide information about their place in the practice. waiting line. , or direct them to the right place for help.

As part of additional staff to help GPs focus on patient consultation, the government will free up funds for practices to employ more roles, including more advanced GP assistants and nurse practitioners, in addition to the roles they are already able to recruit, such as pharmacists, mental health practitioners and associate nurses. This supports the government’s commitment to provide 26,000 more primary care staff to help improve access to appointments.

Our plan for patients will build on the NHS winter plan and set out in more detail how the public will receive the care they need this winter and next in the Secretary’s priorities A, B, C and D to Health and Social Affairs – ambulances, backlogs, care and doctors and dentists.

Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of the NHS, said:

I know how much patients value quick and convenient access to GPs and primary care, the gateway to the NHS, which is why we continue to make improvements, including new roles to better meet the needs of patients and new technologies to contact your local surgery easier.

NHS staff are working hard to deliver a record number of GP appointments to patients, with 11million more this year so far than the same time last year, and more four out of five people who need an appointment within two weeks, more than two-fifths of them in one day.

We will work with the government so that we can support NHS staff to achieve these new ambitions for patients, underpinned by the development of a long-term workforce plan.