Will Javid’s GP reorganisation meet the challenge of improving access to care?

The primary care sector is set for a major upheaval under new plans to improve patient access, according to ministerial briefing to the Times.

Details of funding and a timetable for the move are hazy, but it appears to revolve around a ‘vertical integration’ model which would see GPs widely employed directly by the NHS via hospital trusts – an idea already piloted in Birmingham, Cheshire and Wolverhampton – and effectively abandon the independent contractor model that has been in place since 1948.

A second element of the restructure – the establishment of a ‘national vaccination service’ to take over the administration of health campaigns such as the annual flu inoculation drive which GP practices are currently paid to manage, could further undermine the role (and finances) of existing local surgeries.

This new initiative from health secretary Sajid Javid follows on from his comments last autumn blaming overloaded and under-resourced A&Es on a perceived lack of GP appointments, which was embraced by various right-leaning media outlets and saw doctors being subjected to physical and verbal abuse from patients.

Full story in The Lowdown, 7 February 2022