GP surgeries across Gedling borough could soon be named and shamed in new league tables if they fail to provide patients with the appropriate level of “access”.
The NHS is planning to plough millions of pounds into a new package of measures aimed at improving access to GPs across the UK, with patients being given a new right to demand face-to-face appointments.
But practices which fail to provide an “appropriate” level of face-to-face appointments will not be eligible for the new funding.
Patients will also be able to rate their GP practice’s performance via text message.
GP telephone systems will also be upgraded to reduce long waits over the phone, social distancing in practices could be changed or reduced, and patients will be able to see nurses, pharmacists and paramedics at GP practices.
The measures will also see GPs freed from some red tape and other parts of the NHS will be called upon to help with some care – such as other healthcare workers being given new powers to provide patients with fit to work notes or DVLA checks.
NHS England said the measures, including a £250 million winter access fund, will enable GP practices to improve availability and increase the number of face-to-face appointments and same-day care.
Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome, who represents residents in Mapperley, condemned the move.
She said: “Maybe instead of telling GPs how to do their jobs, Sajid Javid should get on with his job.
“Fund the NHS properly, recruit the 6,000 GPs he promised, and sort out the long waiting lists making GPs’ jobs harder.”
The British Medical Association (BMA) also slammed the plans, with General Practitioners Committee chairman Dr Richard Vautrey saying: “GPs across England will be truly horrified that this is being presented as a lifeline to general practice, when in reality it could sink the ship altogether.”
The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) called on the Government to fulfil its manifesto pledge of an additional 6,000 GPs and 26,000 other primary care professionals in the workforce by 2024 – a target that is highly likely to be missed.
Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the RCGP, said: “We know some patients prefer to see their GP face to face – but good care can and is being delivered remotely and some patients prefer it.”
Sajid Javid explained his new approach for NHS surgeries.
He said: “I am determined to ensure patients can see their GP in the way they want, no matter where they live.
“I also want to thank GPs and their teams for their enormous efforts in the most challenging times in living memory.
“Our new plan provides general practice teams with investment and targeted support.
“This will tackle underperformance, taking pressure off staff so they can spend more time with patients and increase the number of face-to-face appointments.
“Alongside this we are setting out more measures to tackle abuse and harassment so staff at GP surgeries who work so tirelessly to care for patients can do so without having to fear for their safety.”
The new blueprint will also include action on new efforts on how to tackle abuse of staff.
The NHS said it will work also with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges to develop a zero-tolerance campaign on abuse of NHS staff, including GP teams.