Based on the success in pilot sites, the programme will now be rolled out across the country. It has been extended for three years beyond its initial March 2019 end date and aims to cover three quarters of GP practices by 2022.
The latest figures from the programme show that participating practices around the country freed up 205,157 clinical hours and 330,096 administration hours in the past year.
The saving of 205,000 clinical hours is the equivalent of 1.23 million GP appointments of 10 minutes each. At an average of £30 an appointment, that represents close to £40 million in time saved. “If the same number of clinical hours saved are achieved over the next three years, it would represent around 3.7 million GP appointments or around £110 million in terms of appointment time saved,” according to NHS England.
Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS England’s Medical Director for Primary Care and a south-east London GP said: “This programme has had significant benefits for patients and GPs alike, freeing up doctors’ time and NHS resources to ensure people get the care they need as quickly as possible, as part of our Long Term Plan for the health service.
“GP services will continue to be at the heart of our health service, and it makes sense to invest for another three years in a programme that is delivering so much for patients while helping us to be more efficient.”
The three-year extension is part of a £30 million investment in a national programme for General Practice Development committed to in the GP Forward View.