General practice is the ‘beating heart of the NHS’ but is in crisis with an ‘utterly exhausted and demoralised workforce’, MPs have warned according to GP Online.

GP Online reported that the House of Commons health and social care select committee has launched a call for evidence that will run until 14 December as part of an inquiry it says will be among its most important over the coming year.

The committee’s inquiry into the future of general practice comes after months of intense pressure on GPs over access to face-to-face care, and amid intense workload pressure driven by soaring demand for appointments and a chronic workforce crisis.

The review will also look at ‘regional variation in general practice, the general practice workload, and the partnership model’.

Health and social care committee chair Jeremy Hunt said: ‘General practice is in crisis now with an utterly exhausted and demoralised workforce and patients increasingly uncertain of what they can expect.

‘Yet it remains the beating heart of the NHS and essential to the prevention agenda – so how do we get there? This will be one of our most important inquiries of the coming year.’

Terms of reference for the inquiry:

The Committee invites written submissions addressing any, or all, of the following points: 

  • What are the main barriers to accessing general practice and how can these be tackled? To what extent does the Government and NHS England’s plan for improving access for patients and supporting general practice address these barriers? What are the impacts when patients are unable to access general practice using their preferred method? What role does having a named GP – and being able to see that GP – play in providing patients with the continuity of care they need?
  • What are the main challenges facing general practice in the next five years? 
  • How does regional variation shape the challenges facing general practice in different parts of England, including rural areas? 
  • What part should general practice play in the prevention agenda? 
  • What can be done to reduce bureaucracy and burnout, and improve morale, in general practice?  
  • How can the current model of general practice be improved to make it more sustainable in the long term? In particular:  Is the traditional partnership model in general practice sustainable given recruitment challenges, the prioritisation of integrated care and the shift towards salaried GP posts? Do the current contracting and payment systems in general practice encourage proactive, personalised, co-ordinated and integrated care? Has the development of PCNs improved the delivery of proactive, personalised, coordinated and integrated care and reduced the administrative burden on GPs? To what extent has general practice been able to work in effective partnerships with other professions within primary care and beyond to free more GP time for patient care? 

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