Delivering general practice with too few GPs

This briefing presents some ideas on how general practice can continue to be provided as the shortage of GPs becomes chronic | The Nuffield Trust

This briefing combines findings from a workshop with research evidence and specific examples of innovative practice around the country in order to identify generalisable lessons from current innovators and to outline the ways in which national and local policy can support new ways of delivering general practice.

Key messages:

  • Keep it local
    The design and delivery of new forms of general practice should take place at borough and network level so that services can be tailored to local contexts and the needs of practices and local populations.
  • Invest substantially in change
    A significant proportion of the £4.5 billion committed to general practice and primary care by 2020/21 should be set aside and sustained over several years to invest in capital and running costs and staff development.
  • Maintain realistic expectations about the pace of change that can be expected from a workforce under intense pressure

  • Ensure that high quality data is generated, collected and analysed

Full briefing: Rosen R (2019) Delivering general practice with too few GPs. |  Nuffield Trust




Delivering general practice with too few GPs | The Nuffield Trust


Supporting carers in general practice

This document offers a series of practical ideas that have been developed in partnership with carers, primary care teams and other key stakeholders. Collectively, these provide a framework for improving how general practice can better identify and support carers of all ages | NHS England | NHS Improvement

Within the NHS Long term Plan, the ambition for granting carers greater recognition and support so that their own health and wellbeing needs will be addressed is clear.

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This paper sets a clear ambition to:

  • improve carers’ health and promote positive wellbeing;
  • reduce carer crisis and family breakdown;
  • reduce unwarranted variations in carer support, and;
  • meet demand more appropriately and better manage demand on service.

The framework provides a range of practical actions grouped into themes that have been developed from carers, and their representatives, and focuses on key areas where the support offered to carers by general practice could be improved.

Full document: Supporting carers in general practice: a framework of quality markers

NHS WiFi now available to millions of patients


Free NHS WiFi is now available in 6,749 GP practices and 212 acute, mental health and community NHS Trusts across England, benefitting millions of patients.

95% of GP practices and 98% of NHS trusts are already connected with the remaining four trusts and ten CCGs all underway with their own procurements and set to be live this year. NHS Digital exceeded its target to have 95% coverage, by 31 March 2019, in GP practices and NHS trusts.

Full story at NHS Digital

A vision for general practice

This document sets out the RCGP’s vision for the future of general practice which includes longer appointment times, an overhaul of the GP-patient record into a personalised ‘data dashboard’, the development of ‘wellbeing hubs’, continuity of care via ‘micro-teams’ and a greater use of artificial intelligence. 

future GP
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Fit for the Future – the Royal College’s vision of what general practice will look like in 2030 – was informed through consultation with more than 3,000 GPs, other health professionals and patients, as well as research commissioned from The King’s Fund. It also predicts:

  • An overhaul of the GP-patient record into a personalised ‘data dashboard’, accessible by healthcare professionals across the NHS, and that will draw on data from the patient’s genomic profile and wearable monitoring devices.
  • Networks of GP practices will evolve into ‘wellbeing hubs’ with expanded teams offering a wider range of services, both clinical and non-clinical – and that access will increasingly be via digital and video channels.
  • Continuity of care will be maintained and improved but delivered via ‘micro-teams’, so that alongside having a named GP, patients can build long-term relationships with several members of a multi-disciplinary team. The GP team will include established nursing and pharmacy roles, but also emerging roles, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, link workers, dieticians and health coaches.
  • GPs will no longer work in isolation – practices will work in networks or clusters, allowing them to pool resources and people, but facilitating smaller practices to retain their independence and patient lists.
  • A greater use of AI to improve triage systems that assess the severity of a patient’s health needs, enhance diagnosis, flag ‘at risk’ patients, and safely identify the most appropriate care pathway.

Fit for the future: a vision for general practice | The Royal College of General Practitioners



NHS launches prescription bikes to tackle heart disease

NHS patients in Wales will now be able to get a prescription for town bikes in an attempt to cut the risk of death from heart disease

GPs in Cardiff will be trialling the bike share scheme in what is the first of its kind in the UK. Bike hire will be available for free on prescription, as part of the new pilot scheme at the GP surgeries. Doctors can prescribe six months of nextbike membership for people who need to do more exercise or lose weight. Once prescribed, patients will be given a code which allows them unlimited free 30-minute hires.


The plan is being funded by the bike-share company  nextbike for the trial period, with the hope it will then expand to other surgeries across the city.


General practice ‘tech manifesto’

The Royal College of General Practitioners has published its new ‘tech manifesto’ calling for a robust and joined-up IT system across the NHS.


The manifesto recognises the potential of genomics, AI, digital medicine and robotics to potentially revolutionise patient care and improve patient safety but that widespread improvement will only be possible once robust, secure IT systems are in place for all GP practices and all areas of the NHS have access to computer networks which seamlessly link up the patient journey.

Related to this, the Health Secretary has announced plans to upgrade every hospital, GP practice and community care service to full fibre optic connectivity.

Read the Tech manifesto

Practical help as GP Practices prepare for NHS App connection

After successful testing with more than 3,000 patients across 34 GP practices in England, the NHS App has started its public rollout. To help digital leaders, CCGs, GPs and practice staff to effectively prepare GP practices for connection to the app, an interactive webinar series will run until September.

Covering topics such as connection preparation, NHS Login and how to promote the app to patients so they take control of managing their health, the next webinar is on 3 April.