Personal and proactive care from GPs should not be "a relic of a by-gone age" due to targets and tick boxes, Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, said yesterday at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.
The health minister was a keynote at the conference and added that personal, proactive GP care is "how we'll make the NHS sustainable".
He said: "Now I want to talk about GPs and I want to tell you about a wonderful GP in Essex. Every week, he asked his practice nurses to write down on a post-it note the names of any patients they're worried about and then he personally calls those patients, just to check how they are. We have many GPs like that, but we also have many more that want to be like that but find they simply can't deliver the kind of personal care because of targets and tick boxes and rising employment lists.
"That kind of personal proactive care shouldnt be a relic of a by-gone age, it's how we'll make the NHS sustainable by keeping people healthy and happy at home without needing expensive hospital treatment. So on Sunday we set out plans for a new contract, that will support GPs to deliver evening and weekend care by working with other local surgeries and clinical staff. We also announced a £750 million scheme to improve primary care premises and technology, and allow surgeries to expand and modernise their services," he added.
However, Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) was not satisfied with Hunt's speech.
In response, she said: “Last week we called for a ‘real deal’ for general practice, that is: more resources; more GPs; less red tape; the latest technology and infrastructure; and time to innovate. From Mr Hunt’s speech – we are still waiting for this to be delivered...
"The new GP contract might be voluntary, but we still question how it will work. We need reassurance that GPs who do not take up this contract will not financially or professionally lose out – and we need to know how this extra work for GPs who do take up the contract will be funded," she said, calling on Hunt for clarification.