The government has announced new proposals to revamp the services offered by NHS GPs in order to make them more accessible and personalised.
Outlined by the Department of Health today (April 14th 2014), the plans will see more than 7.5 million people in England offered increased access to GPs, including seven-day opening hours and 08:00 to 20:00 appointment slots.
The £50 million GP Access Fund will help 1,147 practices in all regions to offer these extra services for those who would otherwise struggle to fit appointments in with their family and work life. Meanwhile, greater use of Skype, email and phone consultations will also be rolled out.
In addition to these plans, the government also confirmed that it is launching a Transforming Primary Care programme, which will provide access to personalised care plans for around 800,000 people with the most complex healthcare needs.
Mostly benefiting patients over the age of 75, the proactive service will include individual care plans reviewed regularly with patients by GPs, nurses, carers and other health professionals, as well as a named GP responsible for individuals' care and same-day access to doctors when they are needed.
This intervention will be a timely one given the increased pressure that an ageing population is placing upon the NHS, and represents the start of a fundamental shift in care structures from hospital to the home.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "Many doctors already give great care, but I want to make sure this is completely coordinated to head off problems and keep people from going to hospital unnecessarily.
"Extending GP opening hours and offering more services online will also make it far easier for millions of hardworking people and their families to fit seeing a GP around their busy lives."
This comes as part of wider plans by the government to usher back in the era of the old-fashioned family doctor, as outlined in the most recent GP contract for 2014/15.
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