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NHS England calls for changes to London GP care

Executives at NHS England have announced a number of changes that will change the face of GP care in London.

Residents in the capital have long complained about extensive waiting times, poor opening hours and receiving disjointed care for ongoing conditions, but adjustments to management systems will ease these concerns, the authority argues.

A report called General Practice - A Call to Action, which was published yesterday (November 28th) shows that GPs in London face a huge number of challenges.

Rising population figures mean current utilities cannot meet demand and with the capital expected to grow by 13 per cent by 2031, this needs to improve if mortality rates are to stay at their current lows.

Patient satisfaction also remains an issue in the city and Londoners often complain they cannot see a doctor at a time that suits them.

But there are measures that NHS England argues can be taken to mitigate these issues, as well as secondary problems like staff shortages and a rising life expectancy.

Dr Anne Rainsberry, regional director for NHS England in London, wants a holistic approach to management that will see GPs work on a more collaborative basis to solve long-standing difficulties in providing lower waiting times for users.

These views are shared by Dr Howard Freeman, chair of the London Clinical Commissioning Council, who said: "There are ambitious plans to reconfigure NHS services in all areas of London. However, all these plans are dependent on increasing capacity in primary care. 

"If we do not improve access to GP appointments and provide more services in the community then London’s hospitals will become unsustainable. This marks an important and positive step towards building services that are fit for London today."

Secretary of state for health Jeremy Hunt recently lost a Court of Appeal hearing where he aimed to implement cuts at Lewisham Hospital in south-east London.

Campaigners argued the Conservative minister did not have the right to reduce the facility's budget and this view was backed up by judges, who forced the politician to shelve his plans.

By Francesca Witney