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Press release

The King's Fund responds to the primary care plan

Commenting on the delivery plan for recovering access to primary care  Beccy Baird, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, said:

‘Recognition that improving primary care services, from GP access to community support, requires action across the entire health and care system is very welcome. To make the kinds of system changes required for general practice it is essential that, over the long term, primary care is as much of a priority as reducing the hospital backlog. And this is going to take considerable time, focus and a collective effort. Experienced GPs, who are already overstretched are vital to this effort, and so providing funding to free up some of their time to lead change efforts is welcome.

‘The idea that community pharmacies will be able to offer more clinical services to patients has long been the direction of travel so it’s good to see investment in this. However, not all pharmacies will be able to offer these services and it will be really frustrating for patients to be bumped from pillar to post, only to end up back at the GP. Local areas will need to think very carefully about how they communicate which services are available where and to whom.

‘With demand massively outweighing capacity, whether the proposals will be radical enough to turn things around in the real world, remains to be seen. Without a long-awaited and fully funded national workforce strategy to address staff shortages across general practice and community pharmacy, today’s plan, while welcome, will not make the much-needed improvements in access that patients and staff are hoping for.’

Notes to editors

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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.

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