Thank you for contacting me about long term recovery from Covid-19 and strengthening General Practice.
As you may be aware, roughly 1 in every 10 people suffer the symptoms of Covid-19 longer than the average 2 weeks. In a small number of cases, people can suffer symptoms, including respiratory and mental health conditions, for months. It is important to recognise this and offer the right support to people who have long-term symptoms.
I welcome the opening of the NHS Seacole Centre, which will provide specialist care and rehabilitation for people suffering from the effects of Covid-19 now and in the coming months. This centre will contribute to the health of the nation by offering support to people who experience long term effects of Covid-19 and are unable to cope with their symptoms at home. With plans to open similar centres across the country, they will employ a range of specialist staff, including mental health staff, physiotherapists, psychologists and social workers among others.
For people recovering from coronavirus who may need more than medical support, they can find information by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support. This resource directs people to find help with a range of concerns, including getting food, going to work, paying bills or having somewhere to live.
Supporting General Practice is at the heart of the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP). That is why, as part of the plan, investment in primary and community care is set to receive at least £4.5 billion more a year by 2023/24. This is one of the largest uplifts in the £33.9 billion increase to NHS England’s budget by 2023/24, and will mean primary and community funding will grow faster than the rising NHS budget.
Since the launch of the NHS LTP, NHS England and the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee agreed a five-year GP (General Medical Services) contract framework from 2019/20. The contract is delivering the most ambitious reform in general practice in a generation, seeing billions of extra investment for improved access to family doctors, expanded services at local practices and longer appointments for patients who need them.
The NHS LTP seeks to encourage more collaboration between GPs, their teams and community services, as primary care networks (PCN). PCNs will increase the focus on NHS organisations working with their local partners to plan and deliver services which meet the needs of their communities.
Increasing the number of nurses and doctors working in general practice is a government priority and will be boosted by increased funding for the core GP contract, which is set to rise by £978 million a year by 2023/24.
The Government remains committed to delivering 6,000 additional GPs as soon as possible, through new incentives for training, recruitment, retention and return to practice. These measures contribute to the delivery of 50 million more appointments in GP surgeries.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.