GETTING residents better access to GP appointments is on the agenda for Solihull MP, Julian Knight.
This comes after Thérèse Coffey, the secretary of state for Health and Social Care and deputy Prime Minister, announced the Government’s Our Plan for Patients scheme.
The plan stated everyone who needs one should get an appointment at a GP practice within two weeks – and patients with the most urgent needs should be seen within the same day.
It also included changes to funding rules to recruit extra support staff so GPs can focus on treating patients as well as more state-of-the art telephone systems to make it easier for patients to get through to their GP surgeries.
In the plan pharmacies will be called on to help ease pressures by managing and supplying more medicines such as contraception without a GP prescription and taking referrals from emergency care for minor illnesses or symptoms, such as a cough, headache or sore throat.
Mr Knight said: “I know that accessing a GP appointment in Solihull can be a challenge.
“Whether it’s calling your GP provider at 8am and being stuck in a queue just to secure an appointment.
“Or being told that the next appointment is in a month’s time.
“This is a real issue on the ground in Solihull and one that I am working to address.
“The NHS received a record £38billion investment package and the number of doctors and nurses working in the NHS across England is near its highest recorded level.
“Last week, the Government announced its new Our Plan for Patients as we go into the winter, and I will ensure that GP providers, in particular, meet the requirements set out within this plan.”
As part of the Our Plan for Patients, Dr Coffey will also call on the public to take part in a ‘national endeavour’ to support the health and social care system, calling on the one million volunteers who stepped up during the pandemic to support the NHS to come forward again.
As part of the extra staff to support GPs to focus on seeing patients, the government said it will free up funding for practices to employ more roles, including GP assistants and more advanced nurse practitioners, in addition to the roles they are already able to recruit such as pharmacists, mental health practitioners and nursing associates.
The Government say this supports its commitment to deliver 26,000 more primary care staff to help improve access to appointments.