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Wes Streeting pledges billions to GPs in order to ‘fix front door’ of NHS

Ministers will divert billions of pounds from hospitals to GPs to “fix the front door to the NHS”, Wes Streeting has promised as he said millions of patients will be able to see the same family doctor at every appointment.

The health secretary made his first major policy announcement as he prepared to begin vital talks with junior doctors on Tuesday, aimed at finally ending the strikes that have crippled the health service since 2022.

Less than 10% of the £165bn NHS budget in England is spent on primary care, and that share has been falling, despite record high demand at GP surgeries. In a significant policy shift, Streeting on Monday said he would reverse that trend and boost the proportion of the budget for primary care so patients could access help sooner.

More than 5 million patients a month in England are waiting longer than a fortnight for a GP appointment after the previous government promised everyone would be able to get one within 14 days.

After visiting Abbey Medical Centre, a GP surgery in St John’s Wood, London, Streeting said: “Patients are finding it harder than ever to see a GP. Patients can’t get through the front door of the NHS, so they aren’t getting the timely care they need.

“That’s no surprise, when GPs and primary care have been receiving a smaller proportion of NHS resources. I’m committed to reversing that.”

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Source: The Guardian, 8 July 2024


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