Local MP, Dame Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed the announcement from the Health and Social Care Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister Thérèse Coffey that patients will receive easier access to NHS and social care this winter.
The new Plan for Patients aims to prioritise ambulances, backlogs, care and doctors and dentists. The Government aimed to improve patients’ access to GP practices, recruit additional support staff and give pharmacies powers to prescribe more medicines and introduce cloud-based telephone systems to GP practices.
The plan will include changing funding rules to recruit extra support staff so hardworking GPs can focus on treating patients - freeing up over one million appointments per year, as well as more state-of-the art telephone systems to make it easier for patients to get through to their GP surgeries.
There will also be more information available for patients, with appointments data published at a practice level for the first time ever.
By allowing pharmacies to manage and supply medicines, such as contraceptives, without a GP prescription, this will help to free up to two million GP appointments each year. Further to this, the Plan also allows pharmacies to take referrals from emergency care for illnesses such as coughs, headaches, and sore throats. This will free up valuable time and resources in emergency care departments, helping to reduce wait times.
The NHS has already set out plans to increase capacity ahead of winter – including rapidly boosting capacity and resilience, creating the equivalent of 7,000 beds, and recruiting more call handlers. The Plan for Patients builds on this work and is the first step in the Government’s wider plan to ensure the NHS delivers for patients.
Commenting Caroline said:
“ I welcome the Health Secretary’s new Plan for Patients that will make a real difference to the people of Gosport, Lee on the Solent, Stubbington and Hill head.
For far too long my constituents have been struggling to access timely GP appointments, and I have met with successive Health Ministers to raise this issue. It’s good to hear the new Health Secretary is listening and making changes so quickly into her role”
Health and Social Care Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister Thérèse Coffey said:
“I will put a laser-like focus on the needs of patients, making their priorities my priorities and being a champion for them on the issues that affect them most.
“Our Plan for Patients will make it easier to get a general practice appointment and we will work tirelessly to deliver that, alongside supporting our hardworking GP teams.
“We know this winter will be tough and this is just the first step in our work to bolster our valued NHS and social care services so people can get the care they need.”