Skip to main content

Put Patients First – Back GPs

Put Patients First – Back General Practice – Campaign Updates

August 2016: Campaign helped more GPs to remain in practice

In response to our campaigning and as part of its work supporting the workforce, NHS England revamped the GP retainer scheme which supports GPs who can only work two days or less a week to keep working and maintain their clinical skills. One of the key “asks” of the Put Patients First campaign was to support GPs to stay in work where they want to, despite personal circumstances.

August 2016:  RCGP Ambassadors promoting general practice in local areas

With the announcement of a swathe of promises in NHS England’s GP Forward View, the RCGP appointed new Regional Ambassadors to ensure these measures reach practices in their areas as quickly as possible, as well as promoting the values of general practice more widely throughout the NHS. 

June 2016: First meeting of GP Forward View oversight group

Dr Maureen Baker, former Chair of RCGP Council, attended the first meeting of the NHS England GP Forward View oversight group. This group was a key mechanism to hold NHS England to account in delivering the GP Forward View and will be where we push for the delivery of every penny pledged so that all patients see the benefits of improved GP services.

In the meeting, Maureen pushed for the establishment of an investment sub-group to make sure that the promised investment was properly tracked and delivered, and received reassurances that the GP Forward View will indeed deliver a simple funding increase for all practices, delivering benefit for patients.

Maureen also pressed for the rapid implementation of a resilience programme to help practices at risk of closure so that no patient risks being displaced by the closure of their local practice.

June 2016: Contact your Assembly Member

Following the election in Wales, as part of the Put patients first campaign we are lobbying AMs to ensure they deliver for general practice. The deal brokered by Labour and Plaid Cymru following the election included the pledge to recruit and train more GPs.

We were disappointed to learn that the number of whole time equivalent GPs working in Scotland fell by 90, according to information from NHS Scotland. Scotland is already experiencing a shortage of GPs – that’s why the Put patients first campaign has been calling for 740 extra GPs. That figure then rose to 830. To make sure patients have the access to quality care in general practice they need, we need to plug the gaps in the GP workforce. 

June 2016: RCGP looking for patients to join consultation group

We were pleased to welcome Eleanor Thompson, RCGP Campaigns Officer, at our annual conference last week. She came to speak with delegates about the key role that N.A.P.P. members have played and can continue to play in the Put patients first campaign.

The RCGP teamed up with patient participation groups to make local change for general practice and ensure that decision-makers stick to the promises laid out in the GP Forward View. To make sure the College is offering the right kind of activities and support to groups and individuals, they put together a consultation group of people interested in their campaigns work.

May 2016: Campaign wins major success

NHS England published the General Practice Forward View, a ground-breaking strategy document designed to secure the future of general practice in England.

The GP Forward View was published in large part in response to our Put patients first: Back general practice campaign. It pledged, by 2020, £2.4bn of additional investment in general practice each year, 5,000 additional doctors, and at least 5,000 additional other members of GP practice staff.

The commitments contained in the GP Forward View play a key role in improving the patient experience in a number of ways. For example, increasing the number of GPs, as well as improving the training of non-clinical staff, will give GPs more time to spend where it matters – with patients.

The GP Forward View allows GP practices to offer more treatment within the community, meaning that patients have easier access to the services they need, and will help to provide a coordinated approach to assessments and planning patient care.

A safety net for struggling GP practices was created, protecting patients from experiencing the anxiety and disruption of practice closures. And more investment in GP surgeries will mean Wi-Fi available for staff and patients, improved buildings with space for bigger multidisciplinary teams and a modern, safe environment for patients.

May 2016: Now the hard work begins

As patients, you know where your practice is doing well and where there is room for improvement; whether its online resources are good enough, whether its premises need developing, whether it needs access to a clinical pharmacist.

This campaign gave patients the chance to shape how their practice takes advantage of the measures contained in the GP Forward View.

We asked patients to sit down with GPs and talk to them about what the GP Forward View means to them, and which of its measures could best benefit their practice.

Together, patients and GPs came up with action plans for accessing the new provisions.

Here are just some of the measures practices were able to access:

  • A four-year practice resilience programme worth £16m this year
  • A £112m offer to enable every practice to access a clinical pharmacist
  • The opportunity to bid for money through CCGs for new IT funding
  • A £45m scheme to train receptionists and clerical staff to play a greater role in patient navigation and handling clinical paperwork
  • The introduction of new rules from September 2016 to enable NHS England to fund up to the whole cost of premises developments
  • The introduction of new standard for hospitals in managing the hospital/general practice interface that will relieve some of the administrative burden for GPs.

To find out more about the General Practice Forward View, you can use the Royal College of GPs resources located here.

In September 2015 a 300,000 signature petition was delivered to Number 10.

Months of hard work and effort by PPG members culminated on Thursday 18th September when our President, Dr Patricia Wilkie accompanied Dr Maureen Baker, RCGP Chair of Council  to 10 Downing Street to deliver almost 300,000 signatures supporting the Put patients first: Back general practice petition, Royal College of GP’s call for general practice to receive 11% of the overall NHS budget by 2017. Dr. Baker thanked every one of you who signed and encouraged others to do so and said “ it really is going to make a difference to us, to general practice and the care we can deliver to our patients”

The campaign team were confident that this will lead to an adjournment debate in parliament in the near future. RCGP Wales will be taking their signatures to the Senedd in Wales this week. Northern Ireland and Scotland are arranging their own presentations.

General Information about this campaign

What’s the issue?

General practice is facing a growing crisis, as it struggles to provide the care needed by an increasing patient population. Ballooning workloads, declining resources and an overstretched workforce are placing huge strain on services that remain the first point of contact with the health service for most of the UK public.

This is bad news for patients, who face longer waits for appointments to see their GPs and a lower level of care than their GPs want to provide. Too often non-urgent care is being provided in our hospitals, at great expense, when most people want to be looked after in their local community.

In response, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the National Association for Patient Participation (N.A.P.P.) launched the Put patients first: Back general practice – our campaign to improve patient care by increasing funding for general practice from 8.4% to 11% of the UK NHS budget by 2017.