New Health Secretary commits to transforming primary care

  • 9th July 2024

Wes Streeting

In his first official visit as the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Wes Streeting committed to reshaping and improving primary care services across the country.

Streeting was joined by NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, on a tour of the Abbey Medical Centre in St John’s Wood, London, yesterday, where the pair met with, and listened to, staff.

And he declared he will bring back the family doctor, also committing to increasing the proportion of NHS resources going to primary care to ensure patients can get through the front door of the NHS and access the care they need.

He 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 has been receiving a smaller proportion of NHS resources.

“I’m committed to reversing that.

“My first visit as Health Secretary was to a GP practice because when we said we want to shift the focus of the NHS out of hospitals and into the community, we meant it.

“I’m determined to make the NHS more of a neighbourhood health service, with more care available closer to people’s homes.

“Because if patients can’t get a GP appointment, then they end up in A&E, which is worse for them, and more expensive for the taxpayer.

“We are committed to bringing back the family doctor so patients can see the same doctor each appointment, fixing the front door to the NHS.”

Pritchard added: “Staff here also told us about the struggles they face with waiting lists, but also how they are responding to emerging new health and care needs in their local community.

“GP teams are the bedrock of the NHS. But, right across the country, they are under huge pressure and working incredibly hard to deliver more appointments.

“We know there is much more work to do to support them and to transform primary care services and we look forward to working with the Government and colleagues in primary care to do that.”

The Abbey Medical Centre is a sector leader in providing patients with a personal service and emphasising continuity of care – both key pillars of the Government’s mission to reform NHS primary care.

The centre is also a teaching and research practice that trains medical students and specialist trainees in general practice – complimenting the Government’s aim to train thousands more GPs.

The Secretary of State has previously spoken about his plans to increase investment in primary care, including trialling Neighbourhood Health Centres, which will bring existing community services together under one roof.

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