League tables for GP surgeries should be introduced with the goal of improving patient access to face-to-face appointments.
Internships that do not provide an “appropriate” level of in-person appointments will not be eligible for new ones NHS financing worth £ 250 million.
As part of a new package of measures to improve access, patients will also be able to assess the performance of their consultation via text messages.
The NHS said the “winter access fund” would allow GPs to improve the availability of appointments and increase the number of face-to-face appointments and same-day care.
Other health workers will be given new power to provide patients with medical documents such as work adjustment notes or DVLA checks to try to release family doctors.
The NHS said GP practices should “respect preferences for face-to-face care unless there are good clinical reasons to the contrary”.
People will be able to compare GP practices thanks to appointment data that will be published at the practice level in the spring to “improve transparency and accountability,” the health service said.
It is unclear how “appropriate levels” of face-to-face care will be defined, but those who do not meet the standard will be offered support to improve.
“General consultations” could be one of the ways practices choose to solve the problem.
General practitioner telephone systems will be upgraded to reduce long telephone waits, social distancing can be changed or reduced in practice, and patients will be able to see nurses, pharmacists, and paramedics at GP consultations.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I am determined to ensure that patients can see the GP in the way they want, no matter where they live.”
He said this would “fix low performance, eliminating staff pressure so they can spend more time with patients.”
Only 58% of GP appointments in England in August were face-to-face, compared to four out of five before the pandemic in August 2019.
The British Medical Association said the plans would not help GPs improve care the way they had expected and described the government as “ignorant” of the scale of the crisis.
The chairman of the GP committee, Dr. Richard Vautrey, criticized the “concern” for face-to-face appointments and said a hybrid approach was needed.
“General practitioners in England will be really horrified that this is presented as a lifeline for general practice, when in fact it could sink the ship altogether,” he said, warning that a “lack of action” would force to many GPs to leave the profession. .
Professor Martin Marshall, president of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said “good care can be done and delivered remotely and some patients prefer it”.
Plans mark a significant change from July last year, when Health Secretary Matt Hancock said all initial GP appointments “should be teleconsultations unless there is a compelling clinical reason for not do it “.
The EveryDoctor campaign group, which represents 1,700 doctors in the UK, said earlier on Wednesday that “it’s a bit of a shock” that GPs have been “blamed” for the amount of phone consultations offered to patients when they just followed government guidelines.
The NHS long-term plan, published in 2019, proposed that all patients receive a “digital-first” option to access head-to-head healthcare.
EveryDoctor also expressed concern that “inflammatory” comments about access to GPs would lead to “abuse” of staff, another issue that will be addressed in the new plan through the development of a “campaign”. zero tolerance “.