House of Commons Library

General Practice in England

Published Tuesday, May 3, 2016

House of Commons Library briefing on General Practice in England.

Jump to full report >>

House of Commons Library briefing on General Practice in England.

It is estimated that around 90 per cent of patient interaction with the NHS is with primary care services, including GP practices, dental services and community pharmacies.[1]

There are different contracting methods for general practice. This includes the national negotiated General Medical Services (GMS) contract, used by the majority of GP practices. Practices may also use locally negotiated contracts to provide flexibility in service provision - the Personal Medical Services (PMS) and Alternative Provider Medical Service (APMS) contracts. GPs may also be directly employed by NHS England.

NHS England’s Five Year Forward View  (October 2014) committed the NHS to additional investment in general practice, including a £1 billion Primary Care Infrastructure Fund. Recent funding announcements include £550 million announced in March 2015 to improve access to GPs, modernise GP surgeries and improve out-of-hospital care.

In May 2015, the Prime Minister gave a speech setting out plans for a 7-day NHS, which set a commitment that by the end of the 2015/16 financial year, 18 million patients will have access to a GP at mornings, evenings and weekends, which will be extended to everyone by the end of this Parliament.

In June 2015, the Health Secretary set out a new deal for GPs, including commitments to increase the primary care workforce, support 7 day access to the NHS, and reduce bureaucracy to allow GPs more clinical time with patients.

The Government’s Mandate to the NHS 2016-17 instructed NHS England to ensure that everyone has access to weekend and evening GP appointments by 2020.

In April 2016, NHS England published the Forward View for General Practice – its five year plan for general practice. The Forward View sets objectives to be achieved by 2020/21 in the following areas: Investment; workforce; workload; practice infrastructure; and care redesign. It includes a commitment to introduce an additional 5,000 doctors into general practice by 2020. The plan is supported by additional investment of £2.4 billion a year by 2020/21.


[1]     Health and Social Care Information Centre, Primary Care

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7194

Authors: Elizabeth Parkin; Tom Powell

Topics: Health services, Health staff and professions

Share this page

Stay up to date

  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Commons Briefing papers

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.