Primary care

A man has an eye test

Most people access the NHS through their local GP practice and together with pharmacies, dental practices and optometrists, these services are at the heart of our neighbourhoods and communities.

They have the health expertise and knowledge of their local areas to provide great care for people. This could be treating a problem or illness, helping people to stay well and manage their health and preventing ill health.

That is why the NHS Long Term Plan is providing more funding for health services in local communities. It means people will have more timely access to more services close to where they live.

There will be more healthcare professionals which means people will be able to get an appointment more easily with the right person for their needs. These bigger teams of staff will also work closely with other services in local areas to make sure it is easier for people to get a wider range of support.

And there will be better and easier-to-use online health services, including health advice to help patients to manage their own healthcare issues, where it’s appropriate.

What we will do

  • There will be more funding for health services in local communities – £4.5 billion a year extra by 2023/24
  • There will be more healthcare staff working in and with GP practices, which will mean people will be able to get an appointment with the right professional depending on their needs. This will include more GPs, nurses and 20,000 additional pharmacists, physiotherapists, paramedics, physician associates and social prescribing link workers (social prescribing link workers can support patients with their wider health and wellbeing, connecting people to community groups and services for practical and emotional support)
  • These bigger teams of staff will work with other local services to make sure people get better access to a wider range of support for their needs
  • New community health teams will provide support to people in their own homes to keep them well and out of hospital
  • There will be an expansion in the number of services available in local GP practices including better services to diagnose people, physiotherapy and outpatient clinics that have previously only been available in hospital
  • A single easy-to-use NHS App and ‘digital’ GP consultations will make services more convenient including advice to help people stay well and manage their own health.

Putting it into practice – GP practices in Luton join forces to improve patient care

In Luton, GP practices are working together with teams of health professionals, working closely with community, social care, and mental health services in the area to provide better care for patients.

Watch this video to find out how this way of working benefits not only patients like Alexandra, but also the staff working in the practices:

Find out more