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NHS funding boost - £2.4bn for GP services in England

Posted on 03.05.2016
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The details of a five-year plan have been revealed by the NHS, to help GP surgeries to "get back on their feet" as part of a push to improve GP services in England.

A sizable investment is being made into GP services, in the region of £2.4 Billion over the next four years, representing an increase in funding of 14%, paying for 5,000 more GPs and additional staff, over the period.

The NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens stated:

"GPs are by far the largest branch of British medicine and as a recent British Medical Journal headline put it - if general practice fails, the whole NHS fails.

"So if anyone 10 years ago had said, 'Here's what the NHS should now do - cut the share of funding for primary care and grow the number of hospital specialists three times faster than GPs,' they'd have been laughed out of court.

"But looking back over a decade that's exactly what's happened. Now we need to act and this plan sets out exactly how."

The extra money, coming from the increases in the total NHS budget, will bring the total spent on general practice to £12bn by 2020.

The funds will help back 5,000 extra GPs and 5,000 more non-medical staff, including nurses, therapists and pharmacists, that were underlined in the Government’s election manifesto.

Alongside the funding, the strategy also includes:

-          extra support for GPs suffering stress and burnout
-          a relaxation of rules to make it easier to renovate premises or build new ones
-          a campaign to encourage junior doctors to become GPs
-          the recruitment of 500 doctors from abroad to boost numbers

The announcement was greeted warmly by the profession. Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs, stated:

"This is the most significant announcement for our profession since the 1960s.

"For too long GPs have been undervalued, underfunded, and not recognised for the essential role we play. We genuinely hope that today's news marks a turning point for general practice."

This is undoubtedly good news for the profession, praised by all parties as a step in the right directions.
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