The British Geriatrics Society welcomes improved access to primary care

The British Geriatrics Society (BGS) welcomes today’s announcement of a new five-year contract for general practice across England which includes a £1.8 billion investment over the next five years, expanded services at local practices and longer appointments for patients who need them.

The new contract recognises the significant benefits to be realised by enabling older people to receive the healthcare and treatment they need, as close as home to as possible. This significant shift in the delivery of healthcare and treatment will better support older people with frailty, multiple conditions and other serious health issues at an earlier stage.

The BGS also welcomes workforce investment aimed at recruiting 20,000 more staff to help GP practices work together as part of a local ‘primary care network’. Timely access to local pharmacists, physiotherapists, paramedics, physician associates and social prescribing support workers leads to better health outcomes for older people. It also allows general practitioners to spend more time with those patients who most need them, which is particularly important for older patients who are more likely to have complex health needs.

Greater dedicated support for older people living in care homes is also warmly welcomed. They will benefit significantly from improved access to general practitioners as a high proportion of this group have poor mobility, multiple long-term conditions, dementia and/or frailty.

In response to the announcement Professor Tahir Masud, President of the British Geriatrics Society, commented:

“NHS England’s increased investment in creating fully integrated community-based health services through new Primary Care Networks is warmly welcomed. The British Geriatrics Society is extremely pleased that the new contract will help join up care and facilitate multi-disciplinary working with other community health services. We have been calling for better care closer to where people live and this is an important step towards that. It will be of particular benefit to older people with frailty and other complex conditions. Ensuring sufficient workforce capacity is the challenge that must be urgently addressed if the NHS Long Term Plan is to succeed.”