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Government supports Committee recommendations on future of general practice

24 July 2023

The Government has accepted or partially accepted the majority of recommendations made by the Committee in its Future of General Practice report, published last year.

Ministers accepted outright: the need to ensure that trainee GPs are distributed across the country to support areas facing the greatest challenges in ensuring access to a GP; the need to simplify how patients interact with the NHS with improved access; increased organisational support for GPs with a focus on back-office functions.

However, the Government rejected a number of measures set out by MPs that were intended to restore the doctor-patient relationship. A call to acknowledge a decline in continuity of care and make reversing it a priority was partially accepted however a recommendation for a national measure of continuity of care was rejected.

A further call for NHS England to champion the personal list model was also rejected. In its Response, the Government says it is for practices to decide the best way to meet the needs of patients.

In their report MPs had warned that care based on a doctor-patient relationship was essential for patient safety and patient experience, while access to a GP should not be like phoning a call-centre or booking a cab driver never to be seen again.

Health and Social Care Committee Chair Steve Brine MP said:

“We welcome the Government’s very positive response to many of our recommendations on general practice. It should help relieve the burden on GPs and improve access for patients. A number of issues that our inquiry examined have been addressed by the Government in its plan to recover access to primary care.

“What’s disappointing is that Ministers have rejected a series of measures intended to restore the doctor-patient relationship to the heart of general practice. The inquiry heard strong evidence to support continuity of care and we hoped to see NHS England championing the personal-list model as one way to help achieve that.”

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